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? ~Exodus 17:7
How strong is your faith in God? The strength of our faith is best determined during times of difficulty and testing. It is always when our resources are lacking and there are no immediate answers. It is when we receive unexpected news and we feel like our world has crashed around us. It is during those moments that we might be like the children of Israel and grievously ask, “Where’s God?”
We see a site.
Israel had been traveling in the wilderness for less than thirty days. With such a large mass of people to care for, all of them were concerned about their daily needs. They came to a site that is named Rephidim. Rephidim means “rest” or “resting place.” God’s intention for Israel was that they would rest in their souls in the land of promise. This rest begins when we are willing to trust God for everything concerning our life. When you get saved, you are a new creature in Christ. Everything starts anew. We must learn to rest in God’s Person, promises, and performance for us.
We see a struggle.
At Rephidim, they did not see any water sources. They were very thirsty. The hot desert climate made this large congregation thirsty. To their physical eyes, they saw no water. They chided with Moses. This means that there was strife and contention between the people and Moses. They murmured against him. They blamed him for bringing them to this terrible place. The first thing that they did was look for somebody to blame, and that happened to be Moses. They rejected his leadership, his words, and the place where they were.
We see a sin.
However, their struggle was also with God! In effect, they were blaming God for bringing them there. Strife and contention with God and others is a sin! “He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction” (Proverbs 17:19). Do you complain and murmur? Are you someone who contentiously has to prove that you are always right? Are you someone who has a gatekeeper personality: people have to go through you or get your approval on a matter? The entire camp turned against Moses and God. They displayed ugly unbelief. There was sin in the camp.
We see a supplication.
Moses displayed the meekness that he is noted for by bringing this matter to God. He prayed for them. He begged God to show him where to provide them water. He prayed for wisdom and discernment. He knew that he needed God to do something for them. When you are at a place where there is no water and the voices around you are causing you to second guess your judgment and God’s power, be sure you are on your knees and praying.
We see a symbol.
God told Moses to take that rod with which he smote the Red Sea and smite a rock so that water would come forth. Years earlier, that rod was turned into a serpent and God told him to “take it by the tail.” Here was a situation that Moses, by the power of God, needed to take by the tail. Throughout his ministry, he rod was a constant reminder of God’s power in his life. Don’t forget what God has placed into your possession and stewardship. By God’s power, take it by the tail!
We see a suffering.
The name of the location was changed to Massah and Meribah. This means temptation and strife. It became an infamous reminder that instead of trusting God, the people tempted and strove with God. This location would be remembered as the place where hearts were hardened and the people spitefully asked, “Is the LORD among us, or not?”
All the adults perished in the wilderness, save Caleb and Joshua. Unbelief is defiling and destructive. Let this historical incident be a lesson to us. Be careful that you do not strive with God!
Have a submissive God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 46-48