Monday, October 14, 2013

Battle in the Wilderness: No Grumbling Allowed (Luke 4:12)

And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" (Luke 4:12 NASB)

The third and final temptation in the wilderness was to step outside the will of God to show His own importance and divert His direction from the one God had prepared for Him. The price, once again was worship of self. 

Jesus's answer was a quote from Deuteronomy 6:16 and is a reference to the events Massah. The children of Israel had traveled in stages from the wilderness of Sin and had arrived at Rephidim (Moses renamed it Massah - or test - because of the testing there). There was no water at the camp and they began to grumble (whine and complain). As usual, the people overdramatized the situation, saying that they, their children, and all the livestock were going to die of thirst. Moses thought they were about to stone him, and he cried out to God, Who instructed him to strike the rock with his staff. Moses did just that, and water flowed out. 

God had not failed to provide for the people. All they had to do was ask, and He had provided generously every time. Arguing and threatening Moses was not necessary. The multitude of Hebrews, however, were no different than we are today. They wanted what they wanted, when they wanted it, and they were not willing to wait for it. They didn't want to ask for a miracle. They wanted the miraculous to miraculously appear without having to ask for it. It was not the asking for water that was the problem. It was the WAY they asked for it - defiant, demanding, disrespectful of the One who had just delivered them from slavery. Jesus wanted no part of such behavior, for ultimately the people continued with their grumbling and demanding attitudes and it cost them dearly. Not only did most of them spend the rest of their lives in the wilderness, but also they missed the face to face encounter with God that only Moses enjoyed. It's no wonder Jesus was able to resist. 

I wonder just what my drama and exaggeration of the difficulties I've encountered have cost?  What have my grumbling and complaining cost? What have yours cost you? It is easy to see an immediate need with no immediate answer in sight and totally panic, rather than wait in faith for God's answer. It's easy to look at the poor choices of loved ones and think they will never change. The easy wilderness response to our fear and hurt is grumbling and doubt. Nevertheless,  Our response needs to be one of humility, faith, and consistent, persistent prayer. 

As we pray today, remember to thank God for the answers He has already given. Let's simply present our needs before Him today and ask that living water will flow through our loved ones as it did at the rock of Horeb. No grumbling allowed.