By Brooke Holt
“All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ And 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 grumbled against Moses and said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’” Exodus 17:1-3
My husband and I have been watching The Chosen series and have thoroughly enjoyed it! In season three, testimonials follow each episode. The last one we saw was a woman who was marveling at her newfound faith in the Lord. She kept repeating: “I believe in the Lord!” I don’t remember the rest of her story, just her awe at believing. Something in The Chosen series spoke to her in a way that led her to faith.
What led you to believe in the Lord? Did your faith come through hardship? Like the woman I mentioned, are you amazed at how God called you to himself? Or were you raised in the Christian faith and found it easy to believe? In this passage of Exodus, Moses is leading the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt to the Promised land. At this point in their journey, the Israelites have seen numerous miracles. God has done for them what no one could have imagined – provided the way of escape from Pharaoh and his army, split the Red Sea, and provided manna each morning for the people to eat.
Despite these miracles and so many more, the Israelites struggled to believe God. With every hardship, they looked back to their days of slavery in Egypt and longed to go back. Yes, they were slaves in Egypt who were abused and overworked; however, they had food to eat, water to drink, and a place to lay their head to sleep each night. Out in the wilderness, they had freedom from abuse and work, but they feared the many unknowns.
Here, the people are thirsty as they travel through the wilderness with no water bottles, no water fountains on the side of the road, and no water in sight. And what do they do? They cry out and complain to Moses like children: “Give us water to drink” (Exodus 17:2). Focused on their circumstances, their anger rose up against Moses and against the Lord so much so that they questioned why Moses led them out of Egypt. Instead of trusting God to work another miracle in the provision of water, they doubted the Lord and Moses and moaned and groaned about their thirst. They tested the Lord yet again.
What do you do in times of lack and distress? Do you, like the Israelites, doubt God then moan and complain to everyone who will listen? The Israelites serve as an example of what not to do. It is okay to have feelings of doubt, anger, and fear. It is what you do with those feelings that makes all the difference. Instead of testing the Lord, why not bring the fullness of your need before the Lord in prayer? Then watch in faith to see what he will do for you. His heart for you is good, and he has access to every resource in this world and in heaven.
Spend some time remembering how God has met your needs. Thank him for his provision in the past and look to him to meet your needs today. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week small group Bible study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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