At this point in Exodus, Moses and the Israelites are traveling through the wilderness. They have been rescued from slavery, witnessed the parting of the sea, and have an ongoing supply of fresh, local food delivered from heaven six days a week.
Times are good. The Israelites praise God, enjoy his blessings, and gain strength from their relationship with him. But soon, they find themselves in need. Their attitude begins to change and they quickly forget about God’s track record, his incredible miracles, and they began to complain.
In Exodus 17:2 it says, “So once more the people grumbled and complained to Moses. ‘Give us water to drink!’ they demanded.”
The complaining must have been significant. Scripture records that Moses pleaded with the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are about to stone me” (Exodus 17:4). So, by God’s instructions, Moses strikes a rock and water comes pouring out. The people get their water. Moses seems frustrated.
Can you picture it? Moses is so fed up with them, he names the place “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?” (Exodus 17:7). What a thankful attitude!
Earlier Moses reminded them that their complaints were against God (Exodus 16:8). I don’t know about you, but I find it easy to complain to my peers; but when I read what Moses said, that their complaints were against God, that changed my perspective. What do I have to complain to God about? Really?
The story in Exodus goes on to tell us about God’s plans to save the Israelites. Are you kidding — that complaining bunch? Why they don’t even appreciate all that God has done for them!
Does that sound familiar? For me it hits a little close to home. I just might be a bit like those Israelites!
Fortunately, God will even save the complainers. You can read the story for yourself. In Exodus 19:5, it states, “Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my special treasure from among all the nations of the earth.”
The Camp of Complainers–God’s special treasure?
Fast-forward to today – You are not complaining, are you?
God’s offer still stands.