He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"
Hi, what are the significance of the name oh language scholars? Nancy-Wi
Massah & Meribah (Testing and Strife) 1. Named together Ex,17:7 2. Named separately Deut. 33:8 3. First at Rephidim (Israel just out of Egypt) Ex.17:1-7 4. Levites proved Deut. 33:8 5. Second at Kadesh-Barnea 40 years later Num. 20:1-13 6. Moses and Aaron rebel here Num. 20:24 7. Tragic events recalled by Moses Deut 6:16 8. Events later recalled Psalm 81:7 9. Used as a boundry of the land Ezekiel 47:17,19 10. Used for spiritual lesson Heb. 3:7-12
Harold in Alabama
In desert places it's hard to find water. by listening to God and following God's guidance, we can find life-giving water even in the most difficult places (a rock - Exodus often uses the term "their hearts were hardened" - God can break that shell to release a life-giving stream.) ReverendKJ
I always thought the question, "Is the Lord among us or not?" was a good question. It might be good to ask it a little more often. Then maybe we'd pay attention to where we are going.
Of course testing and strife are negative. But doubting whether or not we're on the right course is not necessarily bad.
Yes, that's true about difficulty finding water in the desert. I once knew a Mauritanian whose uncle was a Tuareg trader--those who traditionally cross the Sahara to buy and sell their wares. Apparently he knew all kinds of places to find water that no one else would think of --in roots, 6th sense for it,knowledge of springs, etc. This indigenous knowledge can be lost if its not transmitted, just as the Isrealites had failed to carry forth their knowledge of God. They were forgetting the God who had brought them that far (by faith). These memories of God's salvation are there to help us in trouble and give us the spirit and assurance that we can get through it. Instead, the Isrealites seemed to have lost the spirit. AEA
Can you get water from a rock? Big Question! I talked with an Easterner who told me of a rock in a certain area where the water is very rich with calcium as the water runs over the rocks a calcium deposit forms trapping water in side. Later when the dry season comes and the stream dries up you can burst the deposit and the water will come forth.
This episode depicts the kind of love - hate relationship that existed between the people, God, and Moses (what a classifical family systems problem of triangulation). I wonder how many of us to day find a similar relationship in the people, God, and pastor triangle. TN Mack
Sometimes it takes complaint and discontent in collusion with divine grace to bring a desired effect. Would Moses have struck the rock without the agitation of the people? Is this not the lesson of the Civil Rights movement? MLK Jr. was right: those in power (Moses? Maybe even God?) will never move from the status quo without the stimulous of the agitation of the powerless. When Loves divine intention holds no sway, Necessitys complaint may save the day. --NJ Mover&Shaker
Sometimes it takes complaint and discontent in collusion with divine grace to bring a desired effect. Would Moses have struck the rock without the agitation of the people? Is this not the lesson of the Civil Rights movement? MLK Jr. was right: those in power (Moses? Maybe even God?) will never move from the status quo without the stimulus of the agitation of the powerless. When Loves divine intention holds no sway, Necessitys complaint may save the day. --NJ Mover&Shaker
what connection, if any, is there between this passage and the passage in Numbers 20 (specifically verses 1-12). The description, in both passages, is one of grumbling Israelites and of striking a rock for water; how is it that in one passage this striking shows Moses' faithfulness and the other it shows unfaithfulness? does that connection affect how we preach this passage?
~wrestling in Ohio
My exegesis of the text followed by a brief outline for my sermon: Please forgive the choppy look of the text. Grace and peace: PH from AL
They camped at Rephidim, But There was no water for the people to drink.
The people quarreled with Moses, and said, - "Give us water to drink."
Moses said to them: - 1. Why do you quarrel with me? - 2. Why do you test the Lord?
In the larger context of the wilderness wanderings, the people of Israel are obeying the command, having come out of Egypt by Gods mighty hand, to journey to the Promised Land. He had promised to take of them and be their provider and their God and He would be their special possession if they would trust him and obey his commandments.
It is in this context that Israel has no water. The but has the force of an implied question:, If the Lord is truly among us, and truly faithful to his promises, then why do we not have water?
Instead of believing the Lord through their crisis, they quarrel with Moses , and test the Lord.
Quarreling with Moses was tantamount to testing God because He was Gods chosen agent. By demanding water from Moses, they identify God with Moses. Moses and God are partners in their neglect.
Moses confirms the validity of this identity by saying that to quarrel with him is the same as testing the Lord.
- This points to a basic distrust in Moses leadership and calling, and likewise Gods ability to use an agent to bring protection.
- Another point is that from Moses point of view, the Israelites were not merely expressing concern over a basic need for water. Their attitude had moved from expression of need and concern to distrust. Expression of need would certainly be understood and natural. But the Israelites were not calmly expressing their need to Moses, they were aggressively expressing distrust and rebellion. It was not, Moses, we have no water, but Give us water.
- So in summary, two points are most evident here: 1. distrust in God and His agent 2. Need turned into demand and quarrel, instead of trust.
But -1. The people thirsted there for water; -2. And the people complained against Moses and said, - Why did you - bring us out of Egypt? - to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?
The distrust is expressed in a more pointed manner.
Here no mention is made of God, only that Moses brought them out of Egypt and was responsible for their prediciment, the presumed impending death of the whole population and their cattle because of thirst.
In making these statements Israel surrenders is hope of its future destiny as a special possession of God who will eventually abide in peace and plenty. They prefer to go back to comforting bondage where there is food, but no dreams.
They prefer comfort over greatness.
So Moses cried out to the Lord, - What shall I do with this people? - They are almost ready to stone me.
The Lord said to Moses, - Go on ahead of the people - and take some of the elders with you - take in your hand the staff - with which you struck the Nile, and go. - I will be standing there - in front of you on the rock at Horeb. - Strike the rock - and water will come out of it - so that the people may drink.
- So, what is Moses to do with this group of people who had rejected him and is testing God. Gods response is perhaps surprising. This is the 3rd complaint since crossing the red sea. Each time God provides even though Israel complains and tests God. This underscores Gods patience and his willingness to work with even subborn and untrusting people. He still provides. The rest of Exodus shows that his provision ought to be sufficient reason to trust Him. He does not provide forever for those who continue to test Him.
- Perhaps the staff is to be used in order to remind the Israelites what God had done with it in the past, deliver Israel from Egypt (part the Red Sea). It is a symbol of provision and liberation. By using the staff God is saying to Israel, Remember how I protected you, delivered you and provided for your needs. I will do it yet again. Trust me.
- God saying that he will stand on the rock is probably an indication that is He, and not Moses power, that brings water from the rock.
- Another important element of this situation is the way in which God deals with quarrels and testing. In this case He deals with it through service. He will not always do this. But in the initial stages of Israels journey with Him, he whose patience when tested, amazing mercy and provision when complained against. He love a willful and disobedient people.
Moses did so, - in the sight of the elders of Israel.
He called the place Massah and Meribah, - because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, - saying Is the Lord among us or not?
These names were given as a testimony to Israels lack of trust. They quarreled and tested the Lord.
1. When expression of need becomes quarreling A. Need is an invitation to trust, and for God to fulfill his promises and to demonstrate his love for us, or an temptation to grumble and test God. B. Trust leads to peace, distrust leads to fear and dispair.
2. God is patient with our numerous testings and quarreling A. This is the 3rd time Israel complains, and God provides without qualification. 1. The Lord is patient with us in our weaknesses. 2. He works even with stubborn people B. But as the rest of exodus shows, He patience has the objective of causing them to instill trust in God. And when it does not, they pay the price of being rejected themselves.
3. Does your crisis cause you to surrender your destiny of greatness? A. Israel, in complaining about having left Egypt, essentially surrendered their desire for their great future for God in place of a life of bondage and comfort. B. Does crisis challenge us to believe and persevere, or to forget our promise of being His great possession. C. Does crisis make us want to look back to comfortable and low-living solutions, or do we take it as a challenge to believe in God and persevere through the tests. - James 1:12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. - I Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith-- being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire-- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1. Let our expression of need become an opportunity not to quarrel, but to trust, and see Gods faithfulness unfold
2. Let us be thankful that God is patience with our insecurities and bears with in a little foolishness.
3. Hold onto our dreams of being special possession by vowing not for comfort, but for trust and obedience.
My thought for this week has to do with tying the Exodus and John readings together, calling it "Water from Rocks--and Other Blessings." Both stories can be seen as stories where water comes from rocks--in the physical sense (Exodus) and in the spiritual sense (John). The key, as I see it, is that in both cases (the rock in Exodus and the woman in John) the "water" was there all the time. It took Moses' leadership and Jesus' compassion to bring out the water--but it was there all the time.
The illustration from Harold is helpful here. The issue is not HOW the water got out--but THAT it came from within the rock.
In relation to the Samaritan woman, I plan to talk about the "crusty" layers that built up in her life overtime, personal and interpersonal situations that stifle the stream of life within.
The good news, as I see it, is that deep within all of us there is a quiet, carving stream. All the work is not just on the outside, but God is working deep within us, as well.
That's the scattered, nutshell version of what I'm working with. Any thoughts? Any stories come to mind?
Still working . . .
TK in OK
Thanks to PH from Alabama. I will be using some of your ideas for my own sermon. Title - "What are you complaining about?" Will post my musings and outline tommorrow. Thank you all for you insights. It is especially nice to see some Olt Testament Preaching.
How do we tell whether the Lord is among us? Not by whether things are running smoothly. Things were certainly not running smoothly in the wilderness. They couldn't tell by their physical circumstances.
Many times people test the health of a church by how many members they have, whether the members are happy, or how much money is coming in. Those things only tell us whether or not we are pleasing the masses or providing good entertainment.
Some people try to whether God is in a church by the amount of conflict, or the lack of conflict going on. But maybe conflict only indicates the level of our activity and the liveliness of our members. How do we know if the Lord is with us? (If only there were some kind of test...)
But then we are told not to test the Lord. What was wrong with testing the Lord in the wilderness? God ended up giving them the water. And as someone pointed out, they may not have discovered it if they hadn't complained.
What's wrong with a test is that it's a way of trying to control God. It's like saying, "Give us what we want, or we won't believe in you." But God never did promise to fulfill our demands. God does promise to be with us and lead us into life.
When someone asked Jesus, "ARe you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" Jesus answered that we should judge by what we hear and see: the blind receive their sight... etc. (Matt. 11:4-5). So, it seems we are not to judge by demanding a sign, or demanding for something to change. We are to look and see what is already here: are people's lives being turned around? Are people finding healing and life? And when we struggle with trouble, or hardship, or doubt, are we coming closer to God, and finding a more genuine, realistic and lively faith? Or are we grumbling and complaining and making demands. That's the test, if there is one.
They were thirsting and wanted water. WATER! That is necessary for survival. Who is not going to complain when the leader of an expedition didn't bring along essentials. This istance is not of worshipping other Gods. It is not even worshipping water. It is simply give us something to drink. Perhaps we should read the question as rhetorical. Did you bring us out of Egypt that we should die? Certainly not. The problem here seems not to be the complaining but the impatience. But I am impatient to when tongue swells from no water. I need some help because this complaint seems legitimate. This is not the youth leaving candy wrappers, the "wrong" group using the church, this isn't even the church service going past 12:00 o'clock.
This is an essential need. They complained to Moses. The leader. HELP!!!
wrestling in Ohio
I believe the difference is that Moses relied upon the Lord's direction in the first encounter with thirst and on his own authority in the second. This might be a good parallel passage with John's dealing with the woman at the well. The water that we find runs out, but God always delivers the water that truly satisfies. TN Mack
O.K., So here's what happened- I read the Gospel lection, "Oh, the woman at the well. I've got some good thoughts about that." Then I glance over at the lection, "Hmm, Moses at Massah and Meribah, a water theme. Maybe I can see a link. Oops, look at the time, gotta go." So I'm out and about and ideas start flowing. Here's a woman beat down by her losses and her town's opinion of them. She has had(rather been had by) numerous husbands, not all her own it seems. How does she feel? Bitter. Aha! And Moses is at the pool of water that was bitter until he threw the salt in to make it sweet! Yes! NO, TOM! The bitter pool was at Marah, a couple of chapters earlier(15:23), and he threw a tree in to make it sweet. But I'm sure I remembered salt. NO! that was Elisha over in 2 Kings 2:21. Shoot! There goes another good sermon, hampered by the text not being as good as my memory of it. Maybe I can still work in references to the other water-in-the-desert incidents, but it's communion Sunday and they get antsy if it runs long. Maybe next time I'll slow down and read the text carefully before I start expounding on it.
I am going to talk about how, then and now, people who have seen the blessings of God can quickly forget and doubt and question God's faitthfulness. Things I've heard since 9-11, even from clergy, sound like "Is God with us? How could God let this happen?" Did God lure us out into this land of abundance to kill us with terrorists? Get a grip! Have we forgotten to count our blessings? Take a deep breath and hold it. Now think of how you will replace the oxygen you just used up. Every breath is a gift.
Contrast the woman, whose life has been one loss, one dissapointment, one condemnation after another. Yet it takes just a slight jostle, a loving tap to break away the accumulated crust(Thanx, Harold) and the water of faith begins to flow again. Through all her losses she had held to the promise that God would send a savior. She didn't let her circumstances hinder her hope.
Now those of you who are feeling kind of crusty, with age, loss, disappointment, failing health, unfulfilled dreams, draw near and take bread(the STAFF of life?) and cup(remembering the blood and WATER that FLOWED from Christ's side) and recall the work of God for your salvation and rejoice that God is here among us! Amen. tom in TN(USA)
If you read both passages you will see that in one God tells Moses to hit the rock in the other he tells Moses to speak to the rock. I recently heard Dr. Cho, the great Korean pastor, relate an incident in which he said that there was a group of deaf children at a service he was preaching and he felt that God was telling him to heal them and he called them forward and they were healed. At another meeting there was also a group of deaf people so he called them up and none of them were healed. He said he rushed back to his hotel room and cried out to God. He said, "O God why did you let me down." God answered him and said. The first time I told you to heal them. I didn't the second time you did that on your own. We all too often assume that because we did it once it worked so the next church we do the same thing and it fails. Why? Because all churches are different and God deals with each church differently.