Tempting God

followFollow Me: Love[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 17 [2]

The church had been traveling for three days when they camped at Rephidim. A group of angry elders went to Moses and demanded him to give them water. A mere ten days had elapsed since they demanded food, and Moses warned his church they were not complaining about their pastor. They were complaining about God.

The last time, they accused God of mass murder by starvation. God proved their accusation was not true when he gave them meat and bread from heaven that had appeared every morning for ten days in a row before they found something new to complain about. In fact, they had just collected proof God had no intention of killing him the same day they accused him of mass murder a second time. This time they claimed God brought them out of Egypt to kill men, women, children and their cattle with thirst. If they had cattle why were they complaining about a lack of meat at the Wilderness of Sin?

The church is fixated on their pastor to supply their needs. Their pastor was an eighty year old man with nothing but a rod in his hand, which makes their demand for enough water to quench the thirst of more than a million people and their cattle impossible to fulfill. Once again, Moses ask them why they were quarreling with him. Only a God could give them what they needed.

This time the church elders did more than complain. They tempted God.[3] The elders said, “Is the Lord among us, or not?” In other words, God needs to prove he is among us with a display of his power. If God had not been among them Moses would have died. The church elders were talking about stoning Moses, when Moses, the only one among them with sense enough to bring his problems to God, asked God for help.[4]

From the day God delivered them from Egypt to the day God appeared among them in the person of Jesus, the church leadership has consisted of both wheat planted by God and tares planted by the devil. Their demand for a display of God’s power as proof he was among them is similar to the temptation Jesus experienced in the wilderness.

After Jesus had already heard God say “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased,”[5] Satan challenged Jesus to prove he was a Son of God by turning stone into bread. Then Satan challenged Jesus to jump off a pinnacle of the temple and prove the written word of God was true that said angels would keep him from harm.[6]

Jesus did not respond to Satan who tempted him in a wilderness, he rebuked him. God responded not to these devils, who tempted him, but to Moses, a man he respects, who needed his help. He sent Moses to strike a rock, as the elders watched, with specific instructions to use the same rod that they used to strike the river in Egypt turning it to blood. God gave Moses three signs to perform with the rod so the people would believe him. Using the same rod, which was a symbol and reminder of the past, rebuked the elders unbelief. Blood could have flowed from the rock, just like the river turned into blood making the water undrinkable in Egypt, but it didn’t.

When will the church in the wilderness understand that God had come to save them, not judge them as he did the gods of Egypt.

_______________________________________________

[1] In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul warns us that the things that happened in the wilderness were recorded as a warning to the church because Moses preached the same gospel about Jesus that was preached after Jesus resurrection. For this reason Israel/Jacob will be called the church in this series.

[2] All Scripture is from the NKJ Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Exodus 17:2

[4] Exodus 17:4

[5] Matthew 3:17

[6] Matthew 4:5

About Teena Myers

Teena is the Vice Chairman of the Southern Christian Writers Guild, author of three books and a freelance writer.
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