Exodus 17:1b-2, 4-7, NIRV
Water Out of the Rock
17The whole community of Israel started out from the Desert of Sin. They traveled from place to place, just as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim. But there wasn’t any water for the people to drink. So, they argued with Moses. They said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses replied, “Why are you arguing with me? Why are you testing the Lord?”
Exodus 17:4-7, NIRV
4Then Moses cried out to the Lord. He said, “What am I going to do with these people? They are almost ready to kill me by throwing stones at me.”
5The Lord answered Moses. “Go out in front of the people. Take some of the elders of Israel along with you. Take in your hand the walking stick you used when you struck the Nile River. Go. 6I will stand there in front of you by the rock at Mount Horeb. Hit the rock. Then water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So, Moses hit the rock while the elders of Israel watched. 7Moses called the place Massah and Meribah. That’s because the people of Israel argued with him there. They also tested the Lord. They asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Lenten Coin Calendar. (You can also have extra copies available for children who need them, as well as directing them to download the calendar here.)
How many coins did you collect this week for those items of clothing that you have on your person or in the closets in your home? (Allow children to respond.) We collected coins for caps to protect our heads and faces from the sun’s bright shine. We collected coins for shoes that keep our feet safe and protect us from hurting them while we walk, run, and play. We collected coins for our coats that keep us warm and toasty during those cold days when we are outside. We collected coins for others who may not have those items to help protect them. We pray today, thanking God for clothing that protects us from the elements. We pray also for those who lack clothing to keep them warm and dry.
Today, I wonder, “Do you love God?” (Allow children to answer.) I knew that you did, but I am wondering if it is easier to love God when things are going right or when things are going terribly wrong. Let’s take a vote. By show of hands, raise your hand if you love God more when things are going right. (Allow children to respond by raising their hands.) Now, raise your hand if you love God more when things are going terribly wrong. (Again, allow children to raise their hands.)
I thought that is what the response might be.
I wonder how you act when things are going terribly wrong. Do you feel angry toward God? You may even feel like giving God a test to see why bad things are happening. Have you ever said something like this, “God if you let this happen to me, I will never trust you again”?
Many times, when we play a video, board, or athletic game and we don’t play as well as we want to, we may become angry and complain. We play these games for entertainment, but sometimes we might lose sight of the fact that participating in a game is supposed to be fun. Have you ever complained to your parents so much that your punishment was them taking away your tablet (if you have one) or not letting you watch television? (Allow children to respond.) Being able to watch television or playing a video game on your tablet are blessings. Not everyone can experience those things, so we should be thankful and grateful for being able to have the opportunity to play.
This week, as we search for items in our homes and add coins to our Lenten coin collection jar, we will be looking for things that provide us entertainment. These items shouldn’t cause us to complain if we lose. We shouldn’t let these things “test” our patience.
In today’s scripture passage, the Israelites were dying of thirst. They were very angry and had forgotten about all the ways that God had blessed, protected, and saved them before. They were so angry that they tested God. They wanted to see if God cared about them. Just like all the times before, God gave the Israelites what they needed.
Moses, who led the Israelite people, named the place where they were the Hebrew name that meant “test” and “complaining.” The names given will always remind us of how the people failed to trust God.
This week, as you play games for entertainment, you might lose, or you might not get a high score. But remember the words of Moses, who reminds the Israelites to always trust in God. They needed that reminder, and so might we.
God, help me to know that you are always with me and that you love me. Help me to trust in your care for me, even when things don’t turn out just as I would like. Amen.