Our sermon last Sunday, was from Exodus 17. It was about the Israelites traveling in the wilderness. The first verse says they traveled from place to place as the Lord commanded. At first glance, it looks like they were doing exactly what they should. They were following God’s lead.
Only one chapter earlier, God provided manna from heaven for them and after they complained, He provided quail as well. Just four chapters earlier, God parted the Red Sea for them and destroyed the Egyptian army that pursued them.
God had shown Himself in huge and miraculous ways. These people should have been people of great faith. But, by the second verse, it becomes clear that they were full of fear and doubt. Apparently, they could find no water where God had told them to pitch their tents and so they began to quarrel and turn on Moses.
Fear and desperation can change people. It can make them irrational. It can make them say horrible things. It can lead them to do horrible things. In this case, some were thinking of stoning Moses.
I’m always shocked at how quickly the Israelites lose faith. After all of the miraculous signs, did they really not believe that God could provide them with water?
But, then when I honestly look at my own life, I too, have found myself in wilderness type places where I felt that God has led me, but then wondered if He would provide. After all of the blessings, after the hundreds of times He has shown Himself to be faithful, I have found myself afraid.
Maybe you have too?
That’s when I start wondering if I heard Him right. Am I really where He wants me to be?
The Israelites even asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
While it’s easy to judge the Israelites for their incredibly short memories. Do we really do much better ourselves? As soon as we find ourselves in difficult circumstances, do we question God’s presence in our lives?
Our pastor pointed out that if God showed Himself to us every minute, that our faith would never grow. He said sometimes God steps back so that we can grow into something much stronger.
If you don’t believe that growth is difficult, ask any middle schooler.
But, even though the Israelites panicked, God provided. He created them. He knew that they needed water and He provided it for them even after their faith waivered.
And, He does the same for us. If we find ourselves in the wilderness with no water, we are called to pray, not panic. We are not alone and He will provide, just as He always has.
Perhaps you needed reminding today.
Have an awesome day!