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?”
My challenge for myself this week is to consider four lectionary readings and write about them for the blog. Before reading any of the scriptures for the week, I selected the week I would do this, so that I didn’t choose “easy” scriptures on purpose. These are the lectionary readings for the week I chose. Each day I will post the scripture with the thoughts I have, so I hope you will take the time to read the passage.
As I read the story, I wondered who I related too the most. Which character am I most like?
Am I like Moses? Imagine for a moment, the frustration that he must have felt. This is certainly not the first time that the people have complained. They saw God part the Red Sea, lead them in the wilderness, and yet they still complain. You may be involved in church work – as a volunteer, perhaps, or as a staff member. Do you get frustrated with the people around you? People who complain all the time, no matter what? He brings his frustration to God, and God answers him, with a solution (pardon the pun). There could be a lesson in that for us.
Am I like the people who are complaining? Am I so blind to the work of God that I miss what God is doing? Why am I like that? Do I get so focused on the details that I forget to notice the presence of God? Do I get impatient with God’s timing? Why do I give up on God so easily? How often do I say, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Am I like the elders? Do I ever stand in the presence of one anointed by God, and watch the work of God? Do I learn anything? Do you think that is why God told Moses to take elders with him? Is it so that they will be witnesses to God at work? What do they do next? What do they learn? What do I learn from those whom God has appointed?
My favorite take away lesson from this passage is that God was there. God did not abandon his frustrated, complaining children. God answers. God provides. I pray I may be like the one who remembers that.