And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7).
Is the Lord among us or not? We look back at the Hebrew people when this was recorded and think – are you serious? Imagine what they had witnessed in their recent past:
- The plagues that ravaged the Egyptians, but spared them
- They painted their door frames with the blood of the lamb on that first Passover night and then watched as the firstborn of everyone else died while their families were spared
- They saw the parting of the Red Sea and then walked across on dry ground before Pharaoh’s great army was swept under behind them
- The followed the great pillar of smoke during the day and the fire by night
- They had received the manna – probably that very day!
Yet, they still grumbled, complained and asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?” We may look back at these people and think how clueless they must have been to question the existence and nearness of God. Yet, we today have 3000 more years of evidence of God’s working through history. We have the revelation of both the Old and New Testaments. And, most importantly, we have the living witness of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to make God known to us in a personal way. We have all the evidence those ancient Hebrew people had because it is recorded for us in Exodus. Plus, we have so much more.
Those Hebrews were judged by God for their unbelief and not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Then how shall we escape if we neglect the great salvation in Jesus Christ that has been revealed to us through the Holy Spirit?