August 22, 2019
(Good News Translation)
Sustained by God’s Word of Forgiveness and Mercy
Exodus 17:1-16: After leaving the desert of Sin, the Israelites camp at Rephidim, but there is no water to drink. The people complain to Moses; Moses prays to the LORD who instructs him to strike a rock with the stick he used when he struck the Nile and turned the river into blood (see Exodus 7:14-25). Water flows from the rock. The reading concludes with an account of the Israelites’ battle with the Amalekites.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: EXODUS 17:15
Moses built an altar and named it “The LORD is my Banner.”
Water from the Rock
1 The whole Israelite community left the desert of Sin, moving from one place to another at the command of the Lord. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there to drink.2They complained to Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses answered, “Why are you complaining? Why are you putting the Lord to the test?”
3But the people were very thirsty and continued to complain to Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? To kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
4Moses prayed earnestly to the Lord and said, “What can I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
5The Lord said to Moses, “Take some of the leaders of Israel with you, and go on ahead of the people. Take along the stick with which you struck the Nile.6I will stand before you on a rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” Moses did so in the presence of the leaders of Israel.
7The place was named Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites complained and put the Lord to the test when they asked, “Is the Lord with us or not?”
War with the Amalekites
8The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.9Moses said to Joshua, “Pick out some men to go and fight the Amalekites tomorrow. I will stand on top of the hill holding the stick that God told me to carry.”10Joshua did as Moses commanded him and went out to fight the Amalekites, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.11As long as Moses held up his arms, the Israelites won, but when he put his arms down, the Amalekites started winning.12When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down.13In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites.
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write an account of this victory, so that it will be remembered. Tell Joshua that I will completely destroy the Amalekites.”15Moses built an altar and named it “The Lord is my Banner.”16He said, “Hold high the banner of the Lord! The Lord will continue to fight against the Amalekites forever!”
What did the people say when they complained to Moses (verse 3)? What was Moses’s prayer to the LORD (verse 4)? In what way did the people put the LORD to the test? In the battle with the Amalekites, what happened when Moses lowered his arms? What did Aaron and Hur do? In what ways does your community of faith supports its leaders?
Almighty God, with your living Word you quench my thirst and revive my soul. You strengthen my faith day by day as I grow in knowledge of you. Amen.
Exodus 33:1-11: The Israelites are ordered to leave Mount Sinai.
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