Daily Thoughts from Exodus: Complaining

Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.  (Exodus 15:22-27 ESV)

If God was able to be a shield of cloud and fire between Israel and the Egyptians, create a dry path through the Red Sea, and then once the Israelites were through draw the Egyptians into the sea and drown them, could He not take care of them in the wilderness?  They made their three day journey into the wilderness to worship Yahweh as commanded but when they needed water and there was none that was drinkable, they complained against Moses.  Moses did what he was supposed to do, appeal to Yahweh, and Yahweh showed him a way to purify the water, then led the people to a place full of pure water springs and palm trees.

Thus begins an ongoing pattern of relationship between Moses and the people of trial and subsequent complaining.  Yahweh tells Israel that He is purposely testing them.  The rule is this, “Obey Me and I will keep you healthy.”  This is not Yahweh’s promise to us, but to Israel in that particular period in their history.  Yet it is still, in one way, the rule of life for us.  Trust and obey the Lord and He will use us to expand His kingdom on earth.  Yahweh entered into covenant with Israel in an initial way this day, something that would be expanded when they got to Mt. Sinai with more detail about what obeying and trusting Yahweh would look like.  He has entered into covenant with us, as well, the New Covenant which He made with Israel and we now enjoy as the church because we are in Christ, the ultimate Israel.  As the old song says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.


Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.


Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.


Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.


But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.


Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and Obey | John H. Sammis, 1887


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