Numbers 20:2-3 “Now there was no water for the congregation. And they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Would that we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord!’”
When things aren’t going well for you, how do you respond? How many of us lash out in some way, looking for someone or something to blame for our misfortune? As I heard a missionary say one time many years ago, “What happens to you when the squeeze is on?” In the verse above we see the nation of Israel at the time of Moses in a time of such a “squeeze.” They were distressed because there was no water, and they saw it as a fault of their leaders. It says “they assembled themselves together against Moses and Aaron.” Obviously, to achieve such “togetherness” they had been talking. As they complained to each other about their circumstances they looked for a scapegoat. In all of this they took their eyes completely off the One Who had been with them and had been leading them for nearly 40 years, Jehovah God. They forgot about how their fathers had been in a similar situation early in their wilderness journey and God had responded by giving them water from a rock. But that experience at that time of hardship wasn’t good enough for them. Although God may have provided for their parents many years ago, where was He now? What good was their parents’ experience, for things were different now – at least that’s how they thought.
Throughout the Scriptures we are given numerous accounts of how God has dealt with people to bring them to a place of trust. We see times of testing everywhere we look. If it’s not Israel in the wilderness wanderings tested by a lack of water and food, it’s Joseph languishing in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, or Job bewildered by the multiple tragedies of the loss of his children, his wealth, and his health. And in every case, in these accounts we see that God was always present, always aware, and always working in some way or other to strengthen the faith of His people by proving His great faithfulness in the end. And though so often we may see our troubles as somehow different, these stories have been given to us to teach us that we can always trust the God Who has given us His Word. He will never fail us, in good times or in bad. If we truly trust Him, in times of testing we will not strike out at others when the squeeze is on. As we walk with Christ, God would have us to become increasingly aware of His presence and working in every circumstance of life. He allows testing to prove us as to what we are really trusting in. If we forget about Him or doubt Him in times of testing, it will become evident in our response. Faithlessness always shows itself in a fearful, angry, or hopeless response toward the things or people around us. May God help us to not respond in this way, but rather to trust Him when the squeeze is on. May He bring us to the place in our life where we “endure as seeing Him Who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27), and trust in the One Who is “an ever-present help in times of need” (Psalm 46:1).