3/15/2023 0 Comments
It doesn’t take long for the lesson of the manna to be lost on the wandering Israelites. A little further across the wilderness they camp at Rephidim. Unfortunately, there is no water there. Not surprisingly, the people come to Moses to complain (again), despite God’s faithful record of providing for them. “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Exodus 17:3).
So Moses calls them out for their unbelief. “Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the Lord?” And then he turns to God and cries out, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!” Clearly, Moses is not enjoying his job as God’s representative at this moment.
The merciful and patient God tells Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” Moses does as he is instructed and, of course, water comes forth from the water.
Years later, the same thing happened—the people became thirsty and complain about not having water. “Why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.” (Numbers 20:5).
Once again, the people are solely focused on earthly facts. They give no thought to God’s track record of faithfulness throughout their journey. They ignore the super-natural truth.
And once again, Moses consults with God. This time, however, God gives Moses different instructions. “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” It seems God is not into routines; He prefers being in the moment and providing a “now” Word.
The people are gathered together before the rock. Moses speaks: “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifts his hand and strikes the rock twice with his rod. Water comes out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank (vs. 10-11).
Unfortunately, this is not what God told His representative to do. Moses disobeyed God’s instructions and reacted to the people in anger. The consequence of his choice? “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them” (vs. 12).
Despite all his efforts, when the time comes to enter the Promised Land, Moses will not be allowed to enter. He has misrepresented God’s heart and ways. Aren’t you thankful that, under the New Covenant, our shortfalls are forgiven? Oh, by the way, the rebellious generation that continually provoked Moses to anger also was likewise banned from entering the Promised Land (with two exceptions). In fact, their rebellious ways are what caused the children of Israel to wander for 40 years, until that generation died off. Choice have consequences.
The Chronos Lesson: It’s worth considering the extent to which the Church has misrepresented God’s ways in our own time. For instance, after major tragedies, it’s not unusual for church leaders to announce that it was the judgment of God against evil in the nation. Such a response runs counter to what God’s Word teaches about the future Day of Judgment. This is what happens when people ignore the pre-appointed chronos times set forth in the Scriptures.
It’s also worth considering how often our first reaction to circumstances is to focus solely on the earthly facts. It seems this natural world is still more real to us than Heaven’s super-natural reality. We quickly forget God’s faithfulness.
Psalm 68:19 declares [emphasis added], “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!” Perhaps that is why Psalm 103 reminds us to not forget His benefits! [Be sure to check out what those benefits entail.]
John 4:10 calls Jesus our living water, for His selfless sacrifice would nourish believers with life everlasting! In the meantime, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” to sustain us and refresh others with that same benefit (John 7:38) until He returns.
Finally, it’s worth considering that, despite how things look in this time of increasing lawlessness, God provides for us and delivers us. This is one reason why Jesus warned us to watch and be constantly awareness of His presence and His promises during this time of tribulation. One effective way to “watch” is to give thanks for all He has done, for His provision and faithfulness.
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