Reading Through the Bible, Sunday, January 23. Exodus 17-19

As I write this (December, 2010), New York has experienced one of the worst blizzards in history.  Mayor Bloomberg of New York is under attack for not moving the snow off the streets quick enough.  But there’s so much of it, you have to wonder where on earth the mayor could possibly move it.   Hundreds of thousands of travelers are sleeping in airports.  Today, it would take 1800 747s, on top of the regular planes, to clear out the log-jam of travelers.

Sometimes, there’s no immediate human solution to a problem. You can shout, scream, demand, insist all you want, but in the end, there’s little to be done but wait for God to do something.      

Notice how often Israel whines about her condition.  When being pursued by Pharaoh’s army, Israel cried to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?  When they ran out of food they complained: “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!  There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted” (they’d been oppressed slaves remember).  Now, they are out of water and quarreling with Moses – about to stone him.

The problem here is not the people’s frustration.  It is their lack of faith.  The key to chapter 17 is their cry: “Is the Lord with us or not?”

God provides them water, and then further proof of his presence in Israel’s defeat of an attacking Amalekite army.  Remember the Amalekites?  They are descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob.

What is so memorable about these events is Israel’s lack of faith.  God was there all the time.  God’s presence did not guarantee Israel would not run out of food or water, nor be attacked.  It did guarantee that they could not be conquered by any of these.  Instead, Israel wondered if He were really there.  Remember that the next time you are faced with insurmountable odds.  Do the best you can.  Be still.  Wait on the Lord.  Deliverance will come.