Journey to Jerusalem Day 19
Sunday, March 15 Exodus 17:1-7
1 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Have you ever wondered if God is really with you? If so, you are not alone. The Israelites had no sooner experienced the mighty salvation of God at the parting of the Red Sea than they began to doubt his presence among them. They found themselves out of food and water in the middle of a barren wilderness, and so they quarreled with Moses and openly questioned “Is the Lord among us or not?”
They clearly thought God was not with them because life in the desert was hard. After all, shouldn’t life be easy if God is with us?
The truth is that life is not easy for the one who follows the Lord. We Christians have been liberated from slavery to sin and death and are being led by the Spirit to the Promised Land. But to get to the kingdom of heaven we must cross the wilderness of life, a dangerous country filled with trials and temptations.
Hardship can tempt us to doubt God’s presence in our lives when we believe the lie that prosperity, health, happiness, etc. are signs that God is with us. The truth is that if we follow Jesus, we follow him to the cross. The way of the cross is hard, but we never walk it alone because Jesus is faithful, and he has promised to remain with us always, especially in our hardships.
Lord Jesus, sometimes the sorrows and suffering of life cause us to question if you are really with us. We pray that you prove yourself faithful in these moments, as you did to your people Israel when you gave them water from the rock. Increase our faith and help us to remember your past faithfulness, so that we might not put you to the test again. Amen.