By Brooke Holt
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.’ And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’” Exodus 17:5-7
In 1965, the Rolling Stones released the song, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." This would make the perfect theme song for the Israelites in their wilderness journey. Despite the Lord's consistent provision for their needs, every new challenge brought a new complaint and accusation. As they faced thirst in Rephidim, they quarreled with Moses and posed the question: "Is the Lord among us or not?"
What an ironic question! Without the Lord, they would still be slaves in Egypt. Without him, they would not know where to go in the wilderness, and they would have died of hunger and thirst. The Lord delivered them. The Lord led them through the Red Sea. He destroyed the Egyptian army. The Lord led them by the cloud and the pillar of fire. The Lord provided water, quail, and manna. Could the Lord's presence be more prominent or obvious?
The real question was not whether or not the Lord was among them; it was whether the Israelites would choose to honor him, obey him, trust him, and look to him. The people were not satisfied with God's presence and work in their lives. As we saw in Egypt, the Lord did not work according to their timing. They wanted water before they felt intense thirst. Meanwhile, the Lord wanted them to feel the thirst, then to look to him to quench that thirst. Perhaps they did not feel satisfied, because they were not looking for the right source of satisfaction.
Only in looking to the Lord would the nation of Israel find satisfaction for their souls and provision for their bodily needs. May we change the words of the song, "In the Lord alone can I get satisfaction." Let's stop doubting, stop quarreling, and start trusting.
Do you struggle to feel satisfied in this life? What would the Lord have you to know about this struggle and about his presence and provision? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Christmas is the festival of rejoicing at Christ’s first coming—the beautiful, unlikely start of our salvation! As the season ends each year, we pack up the decorations. Advent, on the other hand, is a bigger celebration—one we can’t box up and store in the attic. It celebrates the grace of Christ’s first coming, and then it reaches with restless anticipation for the fuller grace of his second appearing and the completion of our salvation! For 28 days, celebrate Advent. In Prepare the Way, join with St. Paul, King David the Psalmist, Zechariah, Gabriel, Mary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist, along with the crowds as they rejoiced in the good news of Christmas, and then look beyond it for the holiday that never ends!
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