This past Sunday, we returned to the book of Exodus. When we had last left Israel, they were celebrating on the beach, praising God for His salvation and deliverance from Egypt. It’s not long before things begin to get difficult and the people turn quickly. There are three separate events that all drive at the same point. The people grumble and complain, God responds by testing the people, and what God is really after is moving the people to a place of trust in Him. We see that the main idea of the text is God pushes His people to trust in Him completely and constantly.
- A Bitter Complaint Against God: 15:22-27
The people set out from the beach and begin to move into the wilderness. Quickly, they realize that there is no water. This is a serious problem. However, their response is not seeking answers or legitimate questioning, they grumble. God’s response: He puts them to the test to see if they will listen to what He says. God is teaching his people to listen to His voice and to trust Him in the process. God eventually makes provision for the people, which should have built their confidence in God’s capacity to provide.
- God’s Sanctification Through Testing: 16:1-36
They continue through the wilderness and begin to complain about their lack of food. This is what complaining does, it blurs reality. They begin to suggest that their time in Egypt was far better than it was. So God again tests them to see if they will listen to His voice. In the process, He tells Moses that He is going to make it rain bread. Again, God is moving His people to a place where they will trust Him completely and constantly.
- Putting God to the Test: 17:1-7
Moving on once more, they once again realize that they are without water. You would like to think that they would draw upon their previous experience and find confidence in God’s provision, but they move in the opposite direction. They put God to the test. They make accusations and demands of God questioning His provision, protection and presence. God’s response to all of this is amazing! He tells Moses to strike a rock, and water flows out from it. What’s fascinating about this is, in 1 Corinthians 10 the Apostle Paul refers to this rock as Christ. This is a picture of the Gospel. That God brings His judgment down upon Himself, and salvation and blessing flow out to an undeserving people. That is BEAUTIFUL!
Loved one, God is calling you to trust Him. Not in some things, or even in many things, but in all things at all times. One of the best ways to instill confidence in our ability to trust God, is to look back and see the myriad of ways that God has proven Himself faithful and true. Will you do that this week? Will you reflect on all the ways that God has been faithful to you? Maybe you find yourself struggling to believe this. Could I encourage you to go and read Psalm 77? There’s a definitive movement the psalmist makes, and it’s tied to what he does in verse 10.
God help us that we would be people who are quick to remember a good, generous, faithful and kind God that we serve; and in doing so, we would have complete and constant trust in Him.