Read Exodus 17:1-7.
The people of God had just left the wilderness of Sin. They were tired. They were hungry. They were thirsty. And so they began to fight. They fought each other. They quarreled. They said stupid things like, Why did you bring us out of Egypt? [Which means, why dont we just go back to being slaves.]
They blamed their leader. They became angry at Moses. And why not? Hes driving. Its his fault. Maybe its time for a new leader. And the best way to get rid of Moses is to destroy him. We will hurl stones at him and call it a religious execution. It will seem more biblical that way. Yes?
Their leader, their shepherd, Moses does his best Hey, I know theres no water. What do you want me to do about it? I am just as thirsty as you are? What do you want me to say? What do you want me to do? I can tell you that the only we are getting through this is with Gods help, but why do you people insist on testing God? Why the grumbling and quarreling?
Moses, not knowing what else to do, has a little talk with God. After all, it was God that got him into this in the first place. He was happy leading sheep that didnt quarrel and grumble. Now he is leading the kind that can hurl insults and stones. What am I going to do about this people? He asks God. They want to kill me. Moses is asking, How do you lead a people who do not respect you, worse yet how do you lead a people who want to harm you? Moses cannot even help them because they will not listen past their own grumbling.
Notice how God responds:
It is at the corner of Fussing and Fighting that God in his mercy gives us water. But it doesnt just spring up by itself, he wants us to go there with our leaders our shepherds and remember Gods saving power.
Besides, there are other battles to fight not each other. Isnt it interesting that the enemy of Gods people takes this opportunity to attack. After theyve wandered through the Valley of Sin. When they are weak, hungry, tired. When they are fussing and fighting each other, thats when the old foe attacks.
Read Exodus 17:8-16.
Notice how the people respond:
God in his mercy gives us victory, but it doesnt just spring up on its own. He wants us to go out there with our leaders. He wants us to support them, to lift their arms up to Gods Throne.
And he wants us to remember! Take those symbols, like that staff, and lift it high. Remember what it means. Name this place, name this time. Remember that the Lord is your Banner! He is the symbol of your victory. He is the standard that you raise. Remember, that those who raise their fists against Gods throne will be defeated, but those who lift holy hands will be saved.
Hebrews 13:17 - Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.
[Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Hebrews 12:12]
[Ask our current seven shepherds (and their wives) to stand where they are at.]
Today, lets lift their arms. Lets support them. Would you gather around them now. Stand up, move out. Just sit where you are. Put a hand on a shoulder. Lift up a hand toward them. The shepherds stand among the sheep and we want to support them. Not just for their sake, but for our sake! (Hebrews 13).
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