March 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
Don’t be too quick to criticize the people in Exodus 17:1-7 for grumbling about the lack of water. They had every reason to complain about that in the full heat of the Middle East sun. There are always enough things to complain about in life. The big test is how we deal with situations when we have every reason to grumble. The desperate situation of the Israelite community in Exodus led to a lot of quarreling going on (17:2). Even Moses got real anxious in the situation when he thought his own life is at risk (17:4). However, God’s reaction in the situation is stunningly different from the Israelites and their leader. While their response centers on the conflict, God’s response delivers compassion. Notice how God never actually condemns them for grumbling. He simply instructs Moses to get on with the solution that He will provide for them. When the going gets tough, God shows compassion rather than making things tougher than what they are. The climax of God’s compassion is His promise that “I will stand there before you” (17:6). We are called to learn from God’s response when we are in the midst of difficult situations every day. The basic question for any situation is “Is the Lord among us or not?” (17:7). That puts the focus on His presence rather than the crisis.