Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 17:1-3 (NIV)
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. 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?” 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?”
Exodus 17:1-3 (MSG)
Directed by God, the whole company of Israel moved on by stages from the Wilderness of Sin. They set camp at Rephidim. And there wasn’t a drop of water for the people to drink. The people took Moses to task: “Give us water to drink.” But Moses said, “Why pester me? Why are you testing God?” But the people were thirsty for water there. They complained to Moses, “Why did you take us from Egypt and drag us out here with our children and animals to die of thirst?”
“Then all the congregation of the children of Israel moved on from the Wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water so we may [have something to] drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you tempt the Lord and try His patience?” But the people were thirsty for water; and the people murmured against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up from Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” -AMPLIFIED
Leaving the Desert of Sin the Israelites had just experienced the mighty power of God’s provision; with Him supplying both manna and meat for their need. Shortly before this point they had the pleasure of camping at the Elim Resort; where they had access to twelve springs of water and many date palms for food and drink. Preceding that God had turned the bitter water into sweet at Marah. Time and time again God came for them when they were in need.
Numbers 33:12-14 gives us an idea of their travel pattern once they left the Desert. “They left the Desert of Sin and camped at Dophkah. They left Dophkah and camped at Alush. They left Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.” (NIV) Scripture does not tell us the time-frame that all of this happened. What it does tell us is that the Israelites traveled from place to place directed by the Lord. This is of utmost importance for us to understand; for we must understand that God had once again brought them to a place of testing to see if they had learned their lesson from the last test. From the attitude and response of the people we can gather that they DID NOT acquire much from the exercises that God had put them through before.
Once again we find the people setting up camp and once again they were having a water problem. They set up camp at Rephidim and there was no water at all there. We need to understand the magnitude of this problem, there was no water for the people to drink, nor for all their livestock. (And there were large amounts of livestock.) After traveling long and far, especially by foot, all would need a long cool drink, but there was nothing to drink.
Once again, instead of turning to God and asking God to provide for them they became cantankerous. They began to grumble, complain and even quarreled with Moses. Moses response? “Why are you blaming me? God lead you here. Why are you testing God?”
The whining set in, just like immature small children they began to whine. They also blamed Moses for the predicament that they were in, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” Instead of looking to God to fill their need, they looked to a man. Instead of trusting, they fretted. Instead of respecting Moses, they abused and blamed him. Oy Vey! These people still have so much to learn and we will see tomorrow how this part of the story pans out.
Attitude is everything! How we react and respond to things in our lives is a good indicator of our trust, respect and maturity. Winston Churchill is noted for saying, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Be careful that you are not displaying a “BA”; a bad attitude.
Lord, teach me to have a good attitude. Help me to trust you, respect you, and find my all in you. I want to be a testimony for you; and I can only effectively do that if my attitude is right. Give me a trusting, positive outlook on life as I keep my eyes firmly fixed on you. I will trust in you Lord! Teach me your ways; so that I may be pleasing to you.