Exodus 17:1-7
Deuteronomy 6:16-18


“Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God,
as ye tempted him in Massah.”



The children of Israel journeyed on according to God’s command. Once again, the children of Israel encountered a lack of water, this time at Rephidim. They murmured grievously against Moses and again complained that he had brought them out of Egypt to kill them, their children, and their livestock with thirst. Moses cried to God about what to do. And as before, the LORD provided. He told Moses to strike the rock at Horeb with his rod and water came forth miraculously from it. Moses named this place “Massah” (trial, temptation) and “Meribah” (quarrel).

The children of Israel did follow the LORD’s command to sojourn on. But while doing so, they murmured at every sign of trial. We too are like that. We may obey God and follow His commands in our Christian walk. Yet, like the children of Israel, we expect to be on a bed of roses all the time. And when things are difficult or the going gets tough, we seem to quickly forget all that God has done and how He has faithfully helped us in the past. When we complain and murmur against people or situations, we are in reality murmuring against God Himself. We are grumbling against His leading, His choice of what He allows, and His timing. When we keep ignoring God’s proven goodness and keep murmuring, we are tempting God Himself. Moses said, “… wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?” (Exod 17:2). Their murmuring led them to the brink of committing the sinful act of stoning Moses. God reveals the heart of murmuring. It is tantamount to saying, “Is the LORD among us, or not?” It is a terrible thing to murmur because we are in fact telling God, “If you are with us, why don’t you do something?” What danger we are in when we accuse God! Massah-Meribah was a fearful reminder that the children of God tempted and quarreled with God Himself. God has a blessed purpose for us and is always with us (Exod 17:6). When we find ourselves grumbling, complaining, and becoming displeased easily and repeatedly, let us mumble the words “Massah-Meribah” instead!

THOUGHT: Massah-Meribah: tempting and quarreling with God.
PRAYER: LORD, teach me not to grumble as I follow Thee.