At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sinand moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.
“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?”
But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”
Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!”
The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.
Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?” – Exodus 17:1-7
“Is the Lord here with us or not?”
This is a question we often ask during periods of testing. As with the Israelites, so to with us, doubt because an ever-present reality amid thirst and suffering. The Israelites had seen God’s hand move before, yet they still doubted he would provide again.
Yet from the seemingly lifeless landscape of the Sinai, and the utterly lifeless rocks, God brings forth waters of life. Despite the Israelites complaints, God’s patience continued, His grace endured, and salvation came to the camp.
The song “Leave it There” is sung by many Christians, and part of the chorus line reads, “if you trust and never doubt, God will surely bring you out.” But Scripture clearly teaches that God works to bring us out despite our doubt. The Israelites doubted God’s provision, God was gracious and brought them out of their troubles. The disciples doubted Jesus, yet his grace contended with those doubts, and salvation came to them. Doubt is part of the human condition. Sometimes it’s difficult to just leave it with the Lord, but it’s a habit we must strive towards. Yet at the same time, we shouldn’t feel like we’ve lost our salvation because we doubted God’s provision, rather, like Job, we must humbly admit that we don’t have all the answers and learn to trust in God’s provision.