Shake Your Head

Water, Manna, & Quail | Devotion 6: Shake Your Head
James Mann

As we enter into Exodus 17:1-7, we come across the people of Israel leaving the Wilderness of Sin. This is one of the many times where we come across the people of Israel questioning Moses and God. In the previous chapter of Exodus, we see these same people complaining about the lack of food, and now they are complaining about the lack of water. This is one of those “shake your head” moments where you question whether the Israelites will ever learn to put their faith in God. Moses takes this opportunity of frustration and turns the situation back on the Israelites by asking, “Why do you test the Lord?” Why, after being delivered from the hands of Pharaoh, would these Israelites continue to question God’s plan for them? The exciting thing is, God still takes care of His people even after they question Him. Even after they question His motives, God still uses Moses to go upon the rock and strike water from it. We know this is not the first time that we see the Israelites questioning God, and as we continue to read, we will see this is definitely not the last time either. This moment is brought up again in Deuteronomy 6:16. After God fulfills all of His promises to His people, Moses brings up the foolishness of God’s people for ever doubting Him.

We often read through the Israelites time in the wilderness and laugh at how blind they are to God’s presence and plan for their lives. We get frustrated to see how many times people can ignore God when times get challenging. We are able to feel these emotions because we are reading about the story after it has already taken place. Now change your point of view for a moment. Pretend you are reading the story of your life. Pretend everything you have ever done is laid out before you in the form of a book. Would you read through and feel proud of your walk with God from cover to cover? Even though I laugh at the way the Israelites act, I believe my life would look a lot like this. When times get challenging, we either work in one of two ways. We either act like the Israelites in verse three and question God and quarrel with one another, or we act like Moses in verse four and lean on God in our times of need. In this passage, we see Moses stand out from the pack by showing the real qualities of what a leader looks like. I pray that in your times of trouble and need that you act like Moses did here, and ask God for His guidance in what is going on in your life.

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