Exodus 17 gives the reader a special look into the wilderness journey of the Israelite community. More specifically in today’s study of Exodus 17:1-7, we see a picture of Moses’ persevering leadership as he led an ungrateful and challenging group of former slaves. It is important to note that Moses is able to lead because of the God that He worships and not by his own strength. God’s presence with the Israelite community is the very reason that they received blessings in their life and God’s provision of water in today’s reading illustrates this perfectly.
While reading this passage, let us not miss the importance of the opening statement: “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” (NIV, Ex 17:1). Alright, so who is leading the Israelites in the wilderness? God. Let us not forget that God is leading His people very intentionally: “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people” (NIV, Ex 13:21-22). The text demands that we ask the question - ‘Why did God lead them where there is no water?’ - and we can come to the conclusion that sanctification (growing in our faith) involves God leading us through trying times.
The reality is that life is full of opportunities for the Christian to either grow closer to God by trusting in Him despite the circumstances that they find themselves in OR to grow distant from God by failing to believe that He is who He says He is - Holy, Good, Trustworthy, Faithful, Fulfilling, Loving, Patient, Kind, and the list goes on and on. Warren Wiersbe - author of some of my favorite commentaries - writes about the importance of the Christian’s attitude during different life circumstances: “Every difficulty God permits us to encounter will become either a test that can make us better or a temptation that can make us worse, and it’s our own attitude that determines which it will be” (Wiersbe 213).
So I guess my question today is whether or not we will allow the trials, tribulations, and temptations that we encounter in our daily lives to draw us closer to God rather than pushing us further away from Him. How do we react when hard things happen? Because they will. Will I run into the arms of a loving Father or retreat into the loneliness of self-righteousness and self-reliance?
God will provide. That’s no question. The real question is how we will react to God’s provision.
Written By: Steven Thompson
Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary: The Pentateuch. David C Cook, 2002.
That is a great thought that you left us with: whether we will allow the trials, tribulations, and temptations that we encounter in our daily lives to draw us closer to God or push us further away from Him.
Our attitude and our response makes a huge difference!
This is just awesome! Such a good reminder of how trials can bring us so much closer to our Father, if we just trust Him and believe He knows best for our lives!!! Thank you!!!