“Why, my soul, are you downcast?… Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psa. 42:5).
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. 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 and Meribah 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 the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”
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.
ReflectWhy do we grumble? What
We are just out of Egypt, just across the Red Sea, and we have just had a daily order of manna confirmed, with free delivery, right to the door of our tent. Are we all set, or what?
When Moses comes to collect the customer-satisfaction surveys at the end of the first day’s trekking across the Desert of Sin (which is perhaps unfortunately named for English readers), he discovers that the Israelites are not happy. There is no water. Rather than raise this as a matter for concern, or even prayer, they have chosen instead to quarrel and to complain.
Daily manna has not persuaded the people that God has their needs in hand. So they argue, and Moses strikes a rock, and out comes water—result—for the time-being. In the long run it is noted that “they tested the Lord, saying ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’” (7). In due course, this marks them out as grumblers who never cross over into trusting God.
In other news: the Amalekites attack, Moses lifts up his hands and God delivers the Israelites. And they still never called to say “thank you.”
Remember Saturday’s task of taking your worries to God? Has God started to answer your prayers? Take time to say, “Thank You.”
Mighty God, I anticipate Your future deliverance and I lift my hands to heaven in praise.
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