by Pastor Tim Burt
The Bible’s filled with stories of people who felt like they were facing impossible situations. And that’s great, because people today still feel like they come up against impossible situations. I know I have at times. How about you? I love reading these kinds of stories because they encourage my heart!
In Genesis, we read about Jacob. He and his family were living at the time of a great famine. There was no more food to be found in his own land but he heard there was grain in Egypt. He sent his sons there to buy food and over time, they found that it was their brother Joseph, the one they had sold into slavery that was running the country under Pharaoh. It’s a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness and restoration. Joseph had been led by God to save all of Egypt by saving up for the famine he knew was coming. Pharaoh didn’t know God but could tell that Joseph did and consequently, gave him control over preparing for a famine he knew was coming. And because of Pharaoh’s love and appreciation for Joseph, he invited Joseph’s family to come live in Egypt under his care. He even offered to let them live in the land of Goshen, the best land in that part of the world at a time when the world was suffering from famine. Jacob and his sons knew this was a gift from God and the fulfillment of His promise to them.
Jacob and his family moved into Goshen, they were a tribe of less than 200. Over the next four hundred years, they grew to a tribe of over a million. As Pharaohs changed, so did the living conditions for Jacob’s family. They became despised, hated, and slaves of the new Pharaohs over time. As they cried out to God, sent Moses to deliver them. That resulted in one supernatural event after another. They saw God protect them from plagues that devastated the Egyptians. They saw God part the Red Sea for them to walk through, and then God let it close upon and drown Pharaoh’s army. God guided them by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They saw God supernaturally protect them and provide for them bringing a supernatural food supply called manna from Heaven and water from rocks. Yet despite all this, one complaint after another came from these ungrateful people’s lives! Too many of them really didn’t care about God. They just cared about their daily living conditions. They wanted a genie more than they wanted a God.
Again we hear about their continuous complaints in Exodus 17:1-7(NLT.) “At the Lord’s command, the people of Israel left the Sin Desert and moved from place to place. Eventually they came to Rephidim, but there was no water to be found there. So once more the people grumbled and complained to Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded. “Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you arguing with me? And why are you testing the Lord?” But tormented by thirst, they continued to complain, “Why did you ever take us out of Egypt? Why did you bring us here? We, our children, and our livestock will all die!” Complaining, blaming either God or Moses, and grumpling became their life. This is what people do when they are under pressure and have little or no faith in God.
The verses continue: “Then Moses pleaded with the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are about to stone me!” The Lord said to Moses, “Take your shepherd’s staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile. Then call some of the leaders of Israel and walk on ahead of the people. I will meet you by the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come pouring out. Then the people will be able to drink.” Moses did just as he was told; and as the leaders looked on, water gushed out. Moses named the place Massah—”the place of testing”—and Meribah—”the place of arguing”—because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord going to take care of us or not?”
How could these people have approached God and Moses with such unbelief? They could have remembered everything God had done for them and their forefathers. They could have come in an attitude of worship and said, “Moses, we know you are led by God and that God is with us. He has revealed Himself and His love to us over and over again. We have come to worship Him and thank Him with you. We would rather die in this desert thirsty in praise of Him than under the evil hand of Pharaoh. Please lead us in worship and thanks.” If that had happened, not only would they have seen God’s provision, but also Moses would not have named the place for testing and arguing.
When you enter into what appears as an impossible situation, can you pause and reflect what God has done for you in the past? Can you remember Jesus’ words in Luke 18:27 (NIV) “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Can you remember and be thankful and trust God who loved you so much, that He gave His Son to save you from your sins? Can you pray in faith believing and bow down in prayer and lay your situation at the feet of Jesus? This place alone is where God’s love and your deliverance comes from. God showed us the mistakes and wrong attitudes of times past, so that we would not repeat those attitudes and behaviors in our life today!
Worship and thank God for His love through Jesus Christ, and His love and deliverance for us all. Have faith in God! Have faith in His promises to you!
Psalm 95:6-9 “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me, though they had seen what I did.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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