Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Three thirsty days is a long time

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 15:6-27

"And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. … And the people complained against Moses, saying, 'What shall we drink?'" Exodus 15:22,24

The Israelites had just experienced their most stunning victory—not through their own skill but through miracles straight from God. Even uptight Moses burst into song and matriarch Miriam led the women in a victory dance. But now, only three days later, there is complaining again.

For us, reading these stories, the Israelites' mood changes seem mercurial. They go from rejoicing to grumbling in four verses! Before we're too hard on them, though let's consider their situation.

They are in unfamiliar territory, walking in desert heat, sleeping in desert cold. And they're rapidly running out of the one essential that will keep them alive—water. Three days is a long time to be thirsty. Then, when they do find water, it's bitter. And so they grumble.

I ask myself, if I were in their shoes, would I act any differently?

The Israelites' desert experience demanded that the people mature in trusting God. It stretched them to look past how things appeared in the moment and see the situation with the eyes of faith. They were constantly challenged to remember how God had helped them in the past. Then they needed to apply that memory to current conditions.

"God knows exactly when to withhold or to grant us any visible sign of encouragement. How wonderful it is when we will trust Him in either case! Yet it is better when all visible evidence that He is remembering us is withheld. He wants us to realize that His word—His promise of remembering us—is more real and dependable than any evidence our sense may reveal. It is good when He sends the visible evidence, but we appreciate it even more after we have trusted Him without it" - Charles Gallaudet Trumbull, quoted in Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman - January 24th reading.

I too can go from high to low in a matter of days—hours! And so I too have lots of room for stretching and growth in the living-by-faith department. What about you?

PRAYER:  Dear God, I see myself reflected in these Israelites. Help me to get my eyes off circumstances and keep them on You and Your history and promises. Amen.

Streams in the Desert - 366 Daily Devotional Readings by Cowman

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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