The text for next week's sermon is Exodus 17:1-7.
Verses that intrigue me:
Moses said to them, "Why do you quarrel with me, why do you test the Lord?" (v.2)
Moses cried out to the Lord, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me." (v.4)
The Lord said to Moses, "Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you…I will be standing there in front of the rock…" (v.5)
He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?" (v.7)
Questions I have:
When is it okay to question God? Shouldn't we be able to use our reason to question and ask "where is God in the midst of my pain?"
Why does this pattern of complaining to Moses continue? Wouldn't one such story have sufficed? Why is there story after story of problems in the desert, the people complaining, Moses praying, and God responding? What can we learn from the repetition?
Finally, and this is the hard one to answer in the midst of someone's pain, "Is the Lord among us or not?" If you were Moses, what would you have told the people? Or better, what do you tell friends, family, co-workers, etc. who do ask you this question?