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Bible Pathways 1/23/2004

January 23

Read Exodus 17 -- 19

In Today's Reading:

Thirst causes murmuring against Moses; water from the rock; Amalek defeated; Jethro's advice; God speaks at Mount Sinai

As they continued their journey toward the promised land, the Israelites faced another test of their faith in God. All the congregation . . . journeyed . . . according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched (camped) in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured (grumbled) against Moses, and said, Wherefore (Why) is this that you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us . . . with thirst?. . . And he called the name of the place Massah (Temptation, Testing), and Meribah (Strife), because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not? (Exodus 17:1, 3,7). The Lord knew that there was no water there so He purposefully directed the Israelites to that very place to test their faith and once again they failed to trust Him.

The wilderness journeys exposed the Israelites' refusal to trust the Lord like so many today who complain about their circumstances. God has warned us: Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation (testing) in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted (tested) Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years. . . . I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err (go astray) in their heart (Hebrews 3:8-10).

Israel's release from bondage and the wilderness journey is symbolic of the Christian's pilgrimage through life. From their experiences, we should learn to trust God even when anticipated resources are not available. Just as the Israelites blamed Moses, we are tempted to blame others. Frustration on the job, emotional stress, discontent, and finding fault with uncomfortable situations is, in reality, expressions of distrust in the wisdom, competence, and goodness of God.

The Christian's faith is not based on favorable circumstances, but on our all-wise Creator. The key to peace in the midst of life's problems is confidence in His Word. The Christian is admonished to remain faithful during manifold temptations (various testings): That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:6-7).

Word Studies:

17:1 pitched = encamped; 17:2 chide = find fault; 17:7 Massah = testing; Meribah = tempted the Lord to slay them because of their faultfinding; 17:13 discomfited = defeated; 17:15 Jehovah-nissi = the Lord is my refuge; 19:5 peculiar = special.

Christ Revealed:

As both the Rock and the Water that came forth from it (Exodus 17:6). They drank of that spiritual Rock (Gr. Petras) that followed them: and that Rock was Christ (I Corinthians 10:4).

Pray For:

Government Officials: Rep. Joe Baca (CA), Sen. Thomas Carper (DE), Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ), and Rep. Charles Taylor (NC) · Country: Madagascar (15 million) an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique · Major languages: French and Malagasy · Increasingly anti-Christian · 43% witchcraft, ancestor worship, and some astrology; 21% Protestant; 21% Roman Catholic; 2% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for guiding you to sacrifice freely for what pleases Him (Psalm 54:6).

Optional Reading: Matthew 23

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:5

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