Exodus 17:1-7 (ESV)
It seemed like a cruel bait and switch. God’s promise was a land flowing with milk and honey. But the wilderness in which the people of Israel were camped didn’t fit that description. The people and their livestock were parched, thirsty, desperate.
They cried out, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
Was God planning to let them die? Of course not. One way or another he would provide the water they needed. But prior to that, he would test them regarding their faith. Had they had grasped one the most important lessons any God follower can learn. We walk by faith, not by sight.
Already God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt by his mighty power. He had delivered them from Pharaoh’s army by leading them through the Red Sea on dry land. He had provided nourishment through the daily provision of manna. These actions accomplished certain specific goals. But they also could have built faith in God’s care and provision.
Thus, if the people had learned to trust God rather than circumstances, the prayer would have been, “Thank you, God for your provision in the past. We know you are able to provide water, even in this wilderness. Please save us again.”
Instead, they complained bitterly and sarcastically.
It is an important lesson. God will use difficult circumstances to test our faith. It is easy to trust God when the sun is out and life is grand. But when darkness closes in and the way is hard, will we still trust him? Or will we grumble and complain?
Regardless of the situation, God can be trusted.
Dear God, in difficult times, let me remember your goodness so I may cry out to you in faith. Amen.