Devotional Reading: Exodus 17
Many of the Children of Israel murmured in the wilderness, wasting time from the enjoyment of freedom from the slavery of Pharaoh’s rule. After God delivered them in a miraculous way, having led them through the waters of the Red Sea such that their enemies could not pursue them, they quickly became complacent and left off from praising God completely. They did not fully understand that the same the Jehovah-Raah – their Shepherd who had made a way for them to escape the Egyptian wolves in their lives, is also the Jehovah Jireh who provides, who both knew of and considered their needs before leading them to another shore.
Still, there was no water in Rephidim for the people to drink. Soon they blamed Moses for leading them to that place. This Moses was the same who was chosen by God to be their deliverer. The once revered was quickly reduced to a burden at the lips of the people.
We believe that it is the will of God to prosper His servants, even as the Apostle John said (I John 1:2). Though sometimes our circumstances do not seem to equate with prosperity. What should be our manner when what we believe to be does not match our situation?
Moses responded with prayer. After being verbally chastised by the people, Moses asked God, “What shall I do…” (Exodus 17:4). God gave him instruction to smite a rock, that from thence would flow water for the people to drink. We should not overlook the first part of verse 6, which records the Lord speaking, “I will stand before thee…”
Even after a mighty testimony of deliverance, the people questioned whether the Lord was among them (Exodus 17:7). It is easy to forget in times of trouble, that the Lord is not a mere spectator in our lives. He is not sitting in crowd at the Coliseum, watching us take on the gladiators that we experience, helplessly waiting for us to be ended. We must be reminded that when we walk in His will, He has gone before us into the battle (Deuteronomy 31:8). He goes with us into the storm (Exodus 33:14). He is our rearward in every circumstance (Isaiah 52:12). And though we may spend time waiting for our change to come, they that wait for Him as He is their hope shall not be ashamed (Isaiah 49:12).
We can take a look at this confirmation from the experience of Cyrus, who was named among God’s anointed.
1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
So Moses remained faithful despite the chiding of the people against him. When then his arms became weary as he stood as a beacon for the people, reminding them that God was indeed in the midst, God sent help to hold up His arms. This is the way of Jehovah Shammah – the Lord who is there to be what He needs to be in our situation.
If you are mocked for right, it is not a sign that God is now taking residence at the sideline. He said, they hated me first (John 15:18). If you are chided for your patience when the situation seems to call for alarm, it does not mean that you are irrational; it may be that your peace has passed understanding (Philippians 4:7). If your arms are weary but you are still standing on His promises, remember that your strength will be renewed (Isaiah 40:31).