Sunday, March 27, 2011
They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?’ But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried out to the Lord, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.’
- Exodus 17:1-7 (excerpt)
For forty years after their trek out of Egypt, the Lord God provided raining bread, that is, flakes that fell from the sky to be gathered as Israel’s source of nourishment. Their grumblings…bad attitude…had come before him and prompted his hand of provision to extend. But then they find themselves thirsty, parched in the wilderness for the slightest drop of liquid relief. Rather than simply ask God for provision, which he demonstrated he would and could do, they decide to quarrel with God. They test God. And Moses is the conduit of all of their heated words.
“Why did you even rescue us from Egypt? At least there we had food. At least there we had water. Why did you take us out of that place? Our children and our animals are dying. We are sick of this! Oh, why didn’t we just die there with every other one of our brothers and sisters?!”
It’s amazing how truth gets distorted when you’re pitching a fit. Yes, Israel, at the hand of your oppressors, you were well-nourished. Sure. At the hand of your taskmasters, you never went thirsty. Okay. And how could I forget, at the hand of Pharaoh who chased down all of your sons to the death, the safety and protection your livestock and children were his first policy priority. You’re right.
What great thing has God done for you that you have chosen to forget to legitimate your bad attitude? What lie are you using to throw a tantrum in God’s face when instead you could simply ask? What need do you desperately have that his grace is sufficient to provide?
Jennifer L. Aycock is a freelance writer for McCormick Theological Seminary and a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.