“From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Food For Thought:
When I read this passage of Scripture, questions arise about our human nature and our relationship with God. In order to understand this passage, we have to know the background of this story. The Israelites had been under Egyptian captivity for several hundred years. The Bible tells us the famous story of the Israelites leaving Egypt in the book of Exodus. Moses was put in charge as their leader. They haven’t been in the desert wandering for very long and they start complaining and quarreling with one another. They are hot, they are tired, they are afraid that they have gone all this way and they think that they are going to die out there in the desert because lack of food and water. I can understand why they were concerned about these things. I am sure that I would be concerned about these things too, especially caring for the children in their midst. It doesn’t take long for the Israelites to begin questioning Moses’ leadership and God’s role in their lives.
As a pastor, I have walked with people along their spiritual journeys and the question of how God is involved in our everyday ordinary lives is always a point of discussion. Today, I want you to think about how you view the role of God in your own life. Where have you seen God at work in your life? What do you see as the role of human suffering and God’s role in that suffering? Do you understand God to be the God of love and if so, how do you understand suffering in this world? These are some deep theological questions, so take more than a day or two to ponder them.
God of all who wander in the wilderness, you go before us as beacon and guide. Lead us through all danger, sustain us through all desolation, and bring us home to the land you have prepared for us. Amen.