Road Trip

Water, Manna, & Quail | Devotion 5: Road Trip
Jen Combs

Lately, I have been plunking my way through the Old Testament. Sitting here reading and re-reading Exodus 17:1-7, I cannot help but laugh. I feel like it is me having a conversation with my kids on a road trip.

Here is how my mind raced:

“All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, (In other words, me trying to “herd” my “cats” or kids out the door, in stages) according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink (Holy Smokes, I walked out the door without snacks or drinks packed for our road trip!). Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink’ (No explanation needed. Just think about five kids in a minivan on a 20-hour road trip, with everyone asking for something to drink, over and over and all at different times. Maddening, right?). And Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?’ (Me turning around yelling, “Do you want me to pull this car over? Stop hollering!”). But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses (Me) and said, ‘Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’ (I can hear one of my kids, “Why did you take us from our comfy house and go on this forever long trip with nothing to drink, I am going to die!”).  So Moses cried to the Lord, ‘What shall I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me!’ (My same response with an added, “Have I neglected to ever feed or water you in all of my 16 years of mothering?”). And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel (I am going to get your Dad.) and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock of Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.’ And Moses did so, in the sight of the Elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’” (I am thinking about naming my van Massah and Meribah, it means quarreling and testing. I am pretty sure my kids quarrel and test me every time we are in it).

Now we can laugh at the comparison of the whiny, stubborn people of Israel and our kids. However, in actuality, this is so the Lord and me. How many times have I wondered if He was with me? Even when He has proved Himself faithful over and over, I still question things on my journey. Then there are the times I start to take control myself because maybe He just does not have me and my circumstances on His list of priorities.

Even though I know He is with me, why do I doubt? Why do I question? One commentary I read said that in less than six months’ time the people of Israel had witnessed ten plagues, the pillar of cloud and fire, the opening and shutting of the Red Sea, the miraculous sweetening of the water, and the sending of food and meat from Heaven. How soon we forget. One of the lessons God has been teaching me over the last three years is to be steady in the Lord. I need to do this regardless of my circumstances or feelings. I challenge you with that today. Be steady. He is with us. He has got us. Do not be whiny.

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