Wednesday 26 June 2013

Bible Book:

“Do not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.” (v. 16)

Deuteronomy 6:16-25 Wednesday 26 June 2013


For over 400 years, the Israelites had beensubjected to slavery. But then, the Lord brought them out of Egyptwith a mighty hand, displaying before their very eyes great andawesome signs and wonders against Egypt, against Pharaoh and allhis household (verses 21-22)!

God's people had been led by a pillar of cloud byday and fire by night, through the Red Sea and across thewilderness, towards Mount Sinai where they would worship God andreceive instruction. Their last stop before Mount Sinai wasRephidim, but they were thirsty and there was no water. The peoplequarreled with their leader and deliverer, Moses, demanding "giveus water to drink" (Exodus 17:1-7). Moses replied, "why do youquarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?" Then God told Moses totake his staff and strike the rock at Horeb and water would comeout of it. Moses obeyed and water came out of the rock. He calledthe place Massah because the Israelites quarreled and tested theLord, saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?" Their complaint wastaken as a direct challenge to the leadership of both of God andMoses.

Today's passage begins by recalling that scene.There are two things to notice here, firstly, the Israelites hadrecently witnessed incredible acts of deliverance, yet they quicklyforgot when they found themselves in need again. The expectationthat God would act for them had quickly become their automaticright! The second thing to notice, is that the Scripture tells theIsraelites that the best way to counter their tendency to complainand test God was to continue to tell stories of God's faithfulintervention. Their testimony would cultivate trust and expectancyin a God who would go on meeting their needs in mercy. Givingtestimony was the way God wanted Israel to stay thankful, positiveand hopeful. To live by faith; trusting that when their need wasgreat, God would act in love, without plea.

To Ponder

  • Do you think God would have provided water if the Israeliteshad not complained, but simply waited patiently? Why?
  • How do you test God?
  • What are you complaining about? Are you trying to get God toact? Is there a better way?
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