Read Exodus 17

Highlights:

The Israelites are called a peculiar treasure (19:5). Murmuring and mercy. The nation sanctifies itself. A new covenant relationship with God.

And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink (Ex. 17:1).

Israel had just experienced the journey to Marah where they could not drink the water because it was bitter. When the people began to criticize Moses saying: What shall we drink? (15:24), the Lord miraculously responded to Moses and the waters were made sweet (15:25).

In spite of the fact that God had brought them out of Egypt, destroyed Pharaoh's army, stopped the Red Sea and let them cross on dry land, the Israelites still had no faith in the providing power of God. He had demonstrated that He can do anything, yet the children of Israel continued to question His power to supply their daily needs.

Certainly it was a disappointment that there was no water to drink. But there is no record that even one Israelite died of thirst. The children of Israel had journeyed according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim (17:1). The Lord knew there was no water for them to drink. This illustrates the fact that God always arranges to test and develop our faith. God desires to bring us to the place where we no longer rely upon material and human resources.

How sad, that just like the Israelites, we too often demonstrate a lack of trust in God. Sometimes it is not so easy to rely on what is not seen. Our faith begins to waver. We begin to look in other directions for our provisions. However, God is still ready to provide for our every need.

Often when we reach some particular difficulty or discouraging situation, we find it easy to blame ourselves or our Christian brethren. We must guard our heart so that we do not fall into a state of frustration. We might even find ourselves casting blame where it doesn't belong. Those who are led by the Lord must expect to encounter many unexpected situations that will test their faith in the faithfulness of God.

Family problems, job or emotional stress can all be issues in today's society to cause us to doubt God's provision. We must remember that God is God in the good times and the bad times. Remember, our Heavenly Father cares for the birds and the flowers. Are ye not much better than they? . . . But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:26, 33).It's easy to praise the Lord in the good times. The Christian's faith, however, is not based on favourable circumstances. Try praising Him for the blessing that's coming.

For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings (Heb. 2:10).

Thought for Today:

Trust the Word of God that he will supply all you need according to His riches (Phil. 4:19).

Christ Revealed:

As the Rock and the Water that came forth from it (Ex. 17:6). They drank of that spiritual Rock (Petras in Greek) that followed (accompanied) them: and that Rock was Christ (I Cor. 10:4; compare John 7:38).

Word Studies:

17:2 chide, find fault; 17:13 discomfited, defeated; 17:15 Jehovah-nissi, The Lord is my standard or banner; 19:5 peculiar treasure, special possession.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Joe Baca (CA), Rep. Bobby T. Schilling (IL), Sen. Thomas R. Carper (DE), and Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ) • Country: Nigeria (113.8 million) in western Africa • Major languages: English and Hausa • Government permits all types of religious activity • 45% Muslim (largely Sunni); 40% Christian; 9% Indigenous; 6% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Your prayers must be offered to God with the Spirit and understanding (John 4:22-24).

Optional Reading: Matthew 23

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 100:4