Murmuring In The Dry Places

"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. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?" (Exo 17:1-3)

This is a recurring theme in Exodus. As God leads the Israelites out of bondage, every time some little nuisance comes up, the people start complaining. First, Pharaoh comes after them (Ch 14) and they start in with Moses about, "Gee, if we wanted to die would could have stayed in Egypt!" Then deliverance comes and they escape from Pharaoh while Pharaoh gets all his army destroyed. They get a little further along and there is no food to eat (Ch 15) so they start in again. "If we had stayed in Egypt, at least we would have had food!" Once again, God responds and sends food from Heaven. All they have to do is go pick it up. So, by the time they get to Rephidim, you would think maybe the Israelites would have caught on.

No, it's the same thing again. This time there isn't any water so they go to complaining again. What is it with these Israelites? Don't they get it? After all, God has already delivered them out of Egypt, destroyed Pharaoh's army, fed them food directly from heaven, and yet they still complain. The first sign of trouble and they are back at it again, complaining to Moses. Yet once again, God works a miracle. Moses strikes the rock and water comes out.

Do you ever feel like the Israelites did? It's all to easy to look at the immediate situation, see only the problem, and forget all that God has done for you. This is part of the journey, however. Being led by God doesn't mean it's a walk in the park where everything is going to be perfect every single moment of every day. There are going to be dry places and you may have to wait there for a time. But if you are led by God, then you can know that He will provide. He doesn't lead us into the wilderness and abandon us. There is no need to be murmuring in the dry places. Just be patient, because God is going to work a miracle.

There is a word of warning that goes along with this. The point came where the Israelites hesitated and complained one time too many. That was it. God turned them around and that entire generation died in the wilderness, never reaching the Promised Land. God is longsuffering and patient, but we are expected to catch on. As He shows His power to deliver, we should get better and better at expecting Him to provide. From that comes the patience to endure the wilderness, even when things get a little dry.


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