Scripture: Exodus 17:1-7
What phase of life are you in? Whether you are young, old, or somewhere in between, you may find yourself in a desert place. Life is dry and hard—it seems to stretch on without promise of a sweet, cool oasis. Perhaps you don’t even perceive the life you live as hard, and yet there are desires you have that are unmet; a spouse, a bigger home, physical well-being, the list goes on and on.
It is easy to follow the example of the Israelites in exile. They were fleeing the enemy towards hope, God before them. But it was hot, dry, and they were hungry. They dreamed of green pastures, full stomachs, and a shade tree to lounge under. God had given them everything they needed, but their lips held complaints and their hearts harboured discontent.
When the people were thirsty (17:2) they approached Moses with their complaint. Had they forgotten that God had already provided all the water and food they had needed on the journey (chapters 15-16)? Indeed, there seems to be a theme arising: God’s people wanted something, they grumbled, and God provided. The striking thing about the scene we enter in Chapter 17 is that they had experienced God’s mighty provision and still lived in doubt. Did God provide simply because they complained? On the contrary, He wanted to give them good things; He wants to give us good things. God was giving them opportunity to increase their faith, to grow in their trust in Him. Problems arose when the focus on God was lost and was instead turned toward self.
Today, are you like those wandering in the desert? Have you picked up the practice of complaint? Friend, God has gone before you (verse 6)! He knows your every need, your every longing. Let us pick up the practice of thanksgiving and anticipation this Lenten season. May you instead join in trusting that just as God was faithful to provide for the Israelites’ thirst in the desert, He will give you just what you need.
~Tracy Ashley, Balfour ECC, Balfour BC