This morning I read Psalm 81, and I learn all about how the Israelites were tested “at the waters of Meribah.” If you read in Exodus 17, you find a people dying of thirst. The Lord instructs Moses to strike a rock, and water gushes out for the people. He calls the place “Meribah” (which means strife or contention, because the Israelites complained to God), and says it’s because they tested the Lord and said, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Is the Lord among us or not?
What a paramount question as we face circumstances that bring doubt or worry! Is the Lord among us or not? Because if He is, then, well, He can do anything.
I’m thinking of what it must have been like to sit there, dying of thirst, with only a rock before you. Can you imagine? A rock. An impossible means of satisfying thirst. Yet God was there, and that made all the difference.
But still, they needed water, and all they had was a rock. I think of all those times I really needed something, and God brought the opposite sort of experience that, of course, ended up opening into even greater abundance than the thing I wanted in the first place. The rock He gave–that immovable block or impossible situation–brought forth the thing I needed.
But at first it just looked like a rock. It felt like God’s absence, not His miracle-making presence. Oh me of little faith!
I continue reading until the end of Psalm 81, and here God says that, if the Israelites followed him, he would provide. He says: “You would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
The rock again. But it’s honey–not from the hive–but from the rock. How strange. Can honey come from a rock? No. Can water? No.
Yet God is there, and that makes all the difference. Is the Lord among us or not?