This has been a heavy week. In addition to the pandemic, there have been heartbreaking images of tragic injustice. Our world is broken and our souls cry out, "Where are you Lord?!” That is exactly what the people ask in Exodus 17: "Is the Lord among us or not?" They are worried they will die of thirst, so they bring charges against God. But how God responds... is simply incredible. It's not just that he provides water miraculously, but how he responds to their charges yet again shows what sort of character he has. That is the real water they needed - to see who this God is - and it is the same water we need today. As Jesus said, "Whoever believes in me, out of his heart will flow streams of living water." How do we get that in our daily lives?
Sermon Discussion Questions
Israel has been grumbling for a while now (Ex.15:24, 16:3) now it’s time to quarrel. The Hebrew word for quarrel carries a technical sense of "bringing a legal charge." Moses says the people are "about to stone me" (v.5). There are people on the streets now quarreling. How do you yourself demand justice when there is none?
Exodus is a compressed history of Israel's rescue from slavery. When we read through it this way, God's provision and patience seem clear - but that is not how they lived it. How do we equally lose sight of the "birds-eye view" of our own lives? Why do we suffer from spiritual amnesia so readily? Talk about a long process of spiritual growth that is easier to look back upon - but during it felt like an eternity.
The top of a big rock is the least likely place in the desert to find water. Why does God tend to bring grace in the least likely places of life? The cliché goes: "You'll never know God is all you need until God is all you have." Have you ever been in that place, where God is all you have – nothing else? Did you push him away, ignore him, or fall into him?
Modern humanity sits in judgment over God, rather than the other way around. Where do you see this tendency in your own life, to judge God’s actions? Why do we often miss the power of God saying "I will stand before you" (v.6)?
Paul said, "Christ was the rock" (1 Corinthians 10:4). How does the cross answer the difficulties of this passage - especially the need for justice and the cry for mercy (water in the desert)? Give real examples from your own life of when you were satisfied by this grand truth and when you were not. What did you feel and do in both extremes?
2020 continues to be a surprising year - and, for the most part, in a difficult way. How is God leading you through this desert? What are the places where you are tempted to bitterness? Where are you passionate, but possibly not in a godly way?
With all of this in mind, if Mayor Garcetti gave you a chance to speak to and calm the people (like he did with various faith leaders on Saturday) – what would you say to the people of Los Angeles?