CAN’T THWART GOD
You are the end and my beginnings, the Lord of time. Thank You for the gift of time You have given to me.
Read Exodus 17:1–16
17 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. 2 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?”
3 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?”
4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
5 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. 6 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. 7 And he called the place Massah[a] and Meribah[b] because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
The Amalekites Defeated
8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 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.”
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 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. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
14 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.”
15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 16 He said, “Because hands were lifted up against[c] the throne of the Lord,[d] the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”
- Exodus 17:7 Massah means testing.
- Exodus 17:7 Meribah means quarreling.
- Exodus 17:16 Or to
- Exodus 17:16 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectBe quiet and center yourself. Imagine Jesus seated with you. Before you can speak, he asks you a question: ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Take the conversation from there…
Is there no end? First, no water (v 3) and then, an armed threat from the Amalekites (v 8). Where is God when you need him (v 7)?
Moses, it appears, had no doubt. God was right there in this mess (v 4)! Staff in hand, Moses obediently drew water from the rock (v 6) and commanded victory over the enemy (vs 9–13). Moses’ staff (v 9) had a history (4:1–5; 7:20; 8:16; 14:16). It was a symbol of God’s powerful presence, and Moses was confident that absolutely nothing was going to obstruct God’s salvation journey. If God was set on saving Israel, God would make sure it happened. We know the end of the story: Israel didn’t. We know God brought them through: they had no assurance of that (v 3).
Then, as now, there is still nothing that can derail God’s salvation purpose: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us? … [nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:31–39).
Picture where you will be today. Can you anticipate where you’ll face need or confrontation? What will it mean for you to ‘raise the rod of God’ on those occasions? Pray in the light of your reflection.
Lord, I can be so like ancient Israel. As you press in on me with new challenges, new calls, I push back against You. Help me rather to obey You.
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