By: Steve Negley

Posted: September 27, 2022

Category: Daily Devotional

Exodus 17:1-7

17 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do for this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Recently in worship, we joined in reading Psalm 136, and thanking God for God’s mighty deeds, wonders, and steadfast love.

There are a few simple lines in that psalm that summarize this story of Moses, God, and the children of Israel:

Psalm 136:16-17

[God] who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who made water flow from the rock,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

I’ve long laughed at the ironic name of the wilderness area (the wilderness of Sin) where the children of Israel grumbled against Moses and God right after they had been delivered from slavery in Egypt by passing on dry land through the divided waters of the Red Sea.

Grace upon grace, followed by grumbling. (That’s the human condition.) And then another moment of grace as God sends water flowing from a rock.

Am I ready to grumble about something today? Or am I ready to be surprised by grace?


As I wander through the wilderness of sin and self-centeredness today, let me pause to experience the grace that you have given in saving me and letting me live another day in your creation. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.