Monday, January 14, 2013

The Waters of Temptation and Strife

Exo 17:7  And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

At the Red Sea, the Israelites complained to Moses, "Why didn't you just let us die in Egypt?" God parted the Sea and they walked across on dry ground.
Three days later at Marah, they murmured again, this time because they had no fresh water. Moses chopped down a tree and cast it into the bitter waters and they became sweet.
A few weeks later, in the wilderness of Sin, they started murmuring once again, this time because they were so hungry. Moses thought they would stone him. God introduced them to manna, their diet for the next 40 years. He also brought them quail.
Now, at Rephidim, they begin to chide with Moses about the lack of water. Their murmurings are definitely getting under Moses' skin. It is the same old song and dance, "Why couldn't we have died in Egypt where we had it so good?" Ha! They were slaves under demands so tough they couldn't keep up. But, oh how our memories are skewed over time.
So Moses smites the rock from which water gushes forth. He called the place Massah and Meribah, Temptation and Strife, after the character of the people.
To be sure, they will continue to tempt Moses and the Lord during their wanderings. God will grow so tired of it He will cause the quail to rot while in their mouths. He will even send swarms of poisonous snakes into the camp to bite the complainers.
Which causes me to think about how we are so forgetful and whiny against the God Who is so good to us. When has He ever failed us? When did He not provide for us? When did He do us wrong? Yet, we think we had it so much better when we were slaves to sin under a wicked taskmaster.
We tend to take a "what have you done for me lately?" stance.
We need to remember that God's Spirit will not always strive with a man. As the manna would only last a day, there is an expiration date on His patience. We are not to tempt the Lord our God.
Israel needed to quit pouting and keep praising. As do we!!!

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