Back to Square One?
Lord God, let Your holy Word speak loudly to me. Bring it to my remembrance when I face today’s cares and frustrations.
Read Exodus 17:1-16
 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.  So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?”  But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”  Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”  The LORD answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.  I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.  And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”  The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.  Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”  So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.  As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up-one on one side, one on the other-so that his hands remained steady till sunset.  So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”  Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.  He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the LORD, the LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow did Moses show his frustration with the complaining (4)?
It was for freedom that God brought the Israelites out of Egypt. And now they are stuck in the wilderness. Read today’s passage again and imagine you are another Israelite, and then Moses. What must it feel like to be lost in the plot in the middle of a story that has started but not finished? It must feel like the burden of slavery in a different form. No wonder the people are grumpy! Their vision of the Exodus story (3) is that it comes with hope, a hope that hasn’t been realized. Moses is tearing his hair out, so, however strange the request, does what God asks (6). Then, when the Amalekites attack, note how determined he is to connect with God’s power through prayer and persistence (8-13). And what is God’s response to that (14)? He tells Moses to write down the story of what happened, so that people will remember all of the story and not just the negative moments.
We all make our own way through life. How are you seeking God’s help to be sure you hold the high and low points in balance?
Father God, I need the wisdom of Moses. He sought You and obeyed You. I need You through life’s ups and downs.
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