Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Water of our Discontent

           So, the Israelites have just gotten through watching God bring ten nasty, bizarre afflictions on the mighty nation of Egypt - nasty enough for the Egyptians to willingly offer them a “Get Out of Slavery Free” card with the added bonus of a free shopping spree at their neighbors’ abodes.

            Next, they strolled through a split-wide Red Sea, parted as the result of supernatural winds provided by God (or, depending on who you’re talking to, parted as the result of a volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini [or parted as the result of a rare weather phenomenon called “wind setdown” {or parted as the result of water nymphs dancing their nymphic “Water Part Dance” (or parted as the result of global warming [or parted as the result of whatever whack-a-do hypothesis some whack-a-do scientist comes up with next {or parted as the result of an all-powerful, Creator God to whom the ease of accomplishing such a minuscule task would be comparable to Kenny G playing “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder (I write that with the full understanding that most of you, given your druthers, would rather endure multiple performances of “Hot Cross Buns” by the Iron Horse Elementary 3rd Grade Recorder Ensemble than have to suffer “Songbird” even one more time)}])}]).
            Quick aside - just how stupid do they think we are?

The Israelites: The Egyptians are coming! The Egyptians are coming!
Moses: Well, don’t look at me.
The Israelites: We’re all going to die! We’re all going to...wait, what a refreshing breeze.
Moses: No kidding. I’m just going to lift up my staff here and cool my armpits a bit. Starting to get a little robe chafe after all this walking, if you know what I mean...Oooooo, that’s nice.
The Israelites: Moses, look! The wind is parting the waters!
Moses: Holy Mother of Ur! This must be one of those once-in-a-lifetime weather phenomena! What a remarkable coincidence that we happened to be in just the right place at just the right time for this to happen. Must be Kismet! Quick, let’s get everyone across!
The Israelites: But what about the Egyptians? Won’t they just follow us across and kill us on the other side?
Moses: Hmmm, hadn’t thought of that. I guess our only chance is if the water fortuitously closes up after we’re all across and drowns them before they reach us. Here’s hoping!

            Yeah, that’s just how stupid they think we are...

            Anyway, Moses led the people through the walls of water and out into the wilderness. Once there, God provided miracle bread in the morning and miracle meat at night. They’ve seen God do incredible things - things that should have them in a permanent state of jaw drag. Instead, Exodus 17 tells us that as soon as the Israelites’ canteens start getting a little dry, it’s panic time.

            “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” they cried out to Moses.

            Seriously? Sometimes you just want to smack them in the head! Did they really think that God wasn’t aware of their situation? Did they really believe that if Moses didn’t quickly holler up to the Almighty in order to break Him away from the annual Heavenly Jerusalem Resort & Casino poker tournament (little hint: never play against the cherubim - you’re never sure which of their faces to watch for the tell), then it was very likely He would totally forget about them as they shriveled into little Semitic raisins?

God: I’ve got two pair - kings over tens! Read 'em and...wait a second, that reminds me of something...kings...king...pharaoh...ten...plagues...THE ISRAELITES!!! Oh, man!!

            Somehow, I figure, even without their grumbling, water would have come. God knew their needs. He’d already proven His love for them. What was there to worry about?

            God knows what we’re going through. He knows the trial. He knows the pain. He knows the shortage, the grief, the loss, the loneliness, the uncertainty. We don’t need to cry out to Him for Him to take notice.

            That’s not saying it’s wrong to cry out to Him. If that were true, King David would have had his ephod in a wringer. He was the master of crying out. However, there is a huge difference between David asking God “Why?” and “When?” and “How long?” and the Israelites’ incessant, faithless bellyaching. The former expresses genuine human emotion and struggle, but in the context of trusting God’s power and character. The latter, rather than trusting, questions them both.

            God knows. He sees. He loves. He provides. It may be a painful journey sometimes, but we can rest assured that even when we are at our thirstiest, God is always there with a rock, a staff, and a refreshing spring of living water.


Linda Veltman said...

WOW! I am, as always, blown away by your knowledge of God's Word, your wit, humor, and style of writing. You make God's Word come to life and real and applicable to our everyday living now. You have a way with your writing to make me laugh out loud and then cry crocodile tears.
Thank you for using your incredible talent for writing and using God's Words!

Vicki said...

Yes, Linda said it so well. I agree completely. you are a master, my friend, I am so glad you are blogging again! I am proud to share it with my friends!