Grace in the Place of Thorns – Day 113
By learning about the Feast of Tabernacle we can understand more fully about the Lord’s living waters. This was a festival celebrating how God led the Israelites through the wilderness. During the feast the Jews remember and rejoice about living in tents (temporary dwelling places) when they trekked through the wilderness’s unknown territory.
During Israel’s journey (after escaping Egypt) the Lord directed them to Rephidim. Yet at Rephidim there was no water for the people to drink. God brought them to a place of dryness and thirst, but it was not so that they would die, rather it was so that they would see his Glory. The book of Exodus relates:
“The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin [which means thorns] travelling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim [which means resting places], but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarrelled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink'” (Exo. 17:1-2).
As a refiner’s fire exposes dross, the wilderness brought to the surface what lay dormant in the Israelite’s hearts. Yahweh was leading them through a desert of thorns to bring them to a place of weakness and dependency. When Paul had a thorn in his flesh he pleaded with the Lord three times for it to be taken away from him. But Jesus answered him in a very unexpected way: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:8-9). Yahweh desired to reveal his grace to the Israelites, but they did not have eyes to see what he was doing, they did not know God’s ways.
What they should have done was call out to God for grace. Yahweh revealed himself as Lord over the waters at the Red Sea and Marah, but they quickly forgot. Instead of looking to God for living water, they quarrelled with Moses. In their eyes, Moses was the source of the problem; they blamed their troubles on a leader. This is our natural reaction when we are blind to the dealings of God in our lives. Not only did they think that Moses was the source of their problems, but they thought he also should be the solution-maker. They quarrelled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
When God’s people do not discern what he is doing, and when his children do not pray, the only alternative for them is to quarrel, complain and blame. They will look to men to give what only God can. How many churches are like this! God withholds revival from them and they blame their leadership. The leadership may not be the cause. Examine yourself. Are you crying out for living waters? Or are you demanding that people give you water to drink? The only source of living waters is God and he gives freely to all who ask. As Jesus said to the woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God and who it was that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10).
Prayer: Father, forgive us for looking to man for living waters. Jesus, you are the source of living waters. May we come to you today to drink and be revived.