Yesterday in our Sunday School class, we studied Exodus 17.  I just think the Israelites were a funny bunch.  After everything – plagues, crossing the Red Sea, bitter water made sweet, and manna from heaven – they were still concerned about what would happen to them.  As if God would go to all that trouble to just lead them out to the desert to die.  I think He’s a bit more purposeful than that, but apparently the desire for short-term gratification was not just a vice developed by a fast food culture in the 20th Century.

To me, the most interesting part of the chapter is that the people get thirsty with no water in sight, and they start grumbling against Moses (v.2-4).  As if the stuttering man before them could really have been the one responsible for getting them to that point.  He did not exactly nominate himself for the job.  But when he kindly reminds them of this, they subsequently prepare to stone him.  It’s a totally healthy relationship they have.

But it occurs to me that their misdirected ire is a common human condition.

We all might as well dress in robes and camp ourselves out in the middle of Arizona.

We are people who don’t always like the way things are going in our lives.  And somewhere along the way, we have believed the lie that we should not tell God how we really feel.  So, we start getting upset with the people around us in an effort to get them to change a situation.  We start taking out our frustration on people and things that just don’t have the power we’re claiming they do.  (Hopefully you know that I am not excusing other people from bearing the responsibility for their own sin and its consequences in our lives, but I’m referring to those who have played no role in our current circumstances.)

And so then we come before God and act like everything is okay with our souls.  We make it short and sweet and then check Him off our list before the whole interaction becomes awkward.

Who are we kidding?

On the night before Jacob was going to meet his brother for the first time since his quick exit many years earlier, he wrestles with a man until daybreak (Genesis 32:22-32).  Jacob leaves that fight with a limp, a new name, and the blessing of God.  And he leaves that place having seen the God who had been on His throne for every moment of Jacob’s life. 

Our God is patient, and He knows most of us are far from it.  I think He would rather us wrestle with Him than to never engage Him at all.  After all, you have to get pretty close to someone to wrestle with them.

I think that knowing Almighty God intimately means that we may walk away from His Presence limping at times, but we will always walk away changed.  I’m not sure He would let us walk away from that kind of encounter otherwise.

And I think that we can only have intimate fellowship with God if we’re going to be honest with Him about the state of our heart, mind, and soul.  Really, it’s freedom He offers us.  If we don’t empty ourselves before Him, how else can He fill us with His Spirit?

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. ( Psalm 62:8 )

It is safe to pour out our hearts to God at ALL times.  A refuge is a safe place. 

Frankly, I’m not sure why we think we’re hiding our true feelings from Him in the first place.  Ever since the Garden we’ve been trying to play dress up, and God is not fooled.

So go ahead and pour out your heart.  Ask Him why.  Ask Him how long.  Tell Him that the one you’re most mad at is yourself.  Wrestle with Him. 

But don’t let go until morning. 

That’s when the blessing comes. 

Advertisements