There is a very note worthy progression to how God interacts with Moses in the Old Testament. It is particularly interesting to watch how the Lord demonstrates “life lessons” as He provides water in the desert. Follow along….
In Exodus 15, Moses has led the children of Israel out of Egypt and they are out in the Desert of Shur. They traveled for three days and could not find water. When they came to a place called Marah, the water they found was undrinkable. (“Marah” means bitter.) Naturally, the crowd began to grumble and the pressure was on Moses.
So, he cried out to God and the Lord showed him a piece of stick. Apparently Moses was instructed to throw the stick into the water and miraculously, the water became fit to drink. If I was Moses, I would have been taking notes: “Water is bitter, throw in stick.”
Two chapters later, the children of Israel are camped at Rephidim and again there is no water. Moses is afraid they are going to stone him. The Lord instructs him to take his staff and strike the rock at Horeb. And sure enough, once Moses does so, water poured out. Again, if I was taking notes: “Smack rock, water will come out.”
Later on in Numbers 20, the children of Israel arrived at the desert of Zin and had no water. Moses asked God for instructions and this time he was told to “speak to the rock.” But Moses was apparently under pressure from the crowd and instead of following God’s new instruction to use his words; he smacked the rock a couple of times. And, water gushed out. If I was taking notes: “Smack rock twice, water gushes out.”
If you know your Bible, you know that Moses got in trouble for his disobedience. He was told to speak to the rock and he hit it. And because of that disobedience, he was not allowed to enter into the Promised Land.
What was the problem? I believe Moses missed a very important point, a point that we often miss as well. God’s operating principles are not predictable. His thoughts do not mirror ours; His ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8). His plan for providing their water was varied. He often does the unexpected. He often chooses to do a new thing.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isa. 43:18-19)
This week maybe we ought to think about my note taking. Instead of trying to “box God in” or predict or harness the way He works, let’s open ourselves up and let God choose how He wants to provide for our needs. He knows we need water (and lots of other things). But He is very creative. Let’s trust Him, watch for the “new thing” and enjoy the journey!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel