What God is Waiting to Hear
The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”
But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.”
So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
A human being can go for weeks without eating, but only a few days without water. When Israel came to Rephidim, there was no water in sight. Before long, children were crying and families were growing faint from thirst. It was a critical situation.
Moses understood the ways of the Lord and he knew just what was happening with Israel. He realized that God was letting His people be stretched beyond measure. Why? Because He wanted them to cast themselves completely into His care. He longed to see them rise up in faith and say, “God is able!” But they did not.
Instead, Scripture tells us, “(Moses) called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (v 7)
The words “Massah” and “Meribah” both mean the same thing: “a place of trial and testing.” Moses ran through the camp crying, “This is Massah—a test, a trial! It isn’t the end. God hasn’t forsaken us, so keep holding on! The Lord is looking for faith, wanting to know what’s in our hearts. He knows how to meet our need—He only wants us to trust Him!”
Tragically, Israel did not trust the Lord, so God instructed Moses to pick up his rod, go to Horeb, and strike a certain rock there. When Moses hit the rock, water came gushing out to meet Israel’s thirst. The Lord proved once again He was with His people in spite of their unbelief.
How did Israel tempt the Lord in this episode? Was it in their anger toward Moses? Was it in their murmuring? Or was it in their idolatrous fornication? None of these things was the real issue. Here is how Israel tempted God: “They tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?”
God had that water in storage all along. He could have supplied it to Israel at the first pangs of their thirst but He waited. His heart yearned for His special, chosen people to recognize His love for them and cast themselves into His faithful arms. But once again, they failed!
All God wanted was to hear, “God, You opened the Red Sea for us and sweetened the bitter waters of Marah. We trust You to give us water to drink. Live or die, we are Yours!”
That is all God was waiting to hear! And that is all God is waiting to hear from you! Will you believe He loves you and will provide for you, no matter how desperate your situation appears to be?
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
This devotional was written by
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]
World Challenge, Inc.
Lindale, TX 75771-0260
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