Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
E. Learning To Face New, Overwhelming Crises Focused On God's Precedents And Power
(Exodus 17:1-7)
  1. Introduction
    1. Repeat trials are relatively easy to handle, for experience is a great teacher, cf. Hebrews 5:14!
    2. However, new, humanly overwhelming ones can paralyze us, leaving us vulnerable to spiritual defeat.
    3. Moses faced a new and overwhelming trial with the people of Israel at Rephidim, an experience that left him terrified of the distressed and infuriated people and aimless on knowing what to do. God's response in Moses' behalf supplies rich direction for us on facing similar new, humanly overwhelming trials:
  2. Learning To Face New, Overwhelming Crises Focused On God's Precedents And Power, Ex. 17:1-7.
    1. As Israel traveled from the wilderness of Sin, she camped at Rephidim in accord with God's leading, 17:1.
    2. Now at Rephidim, they faced unprecedented crisis, for there was NO water, 17:1c. At Marah they found at least bitter water that could be treated, and there they were only seven miles away from good water at Elim (cf. Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to Ex. 15:27), but Rephidim was arid, a humanly hopeless place!
    3. The people became distressed at the severity of this crisis, so they angrily argued with Moses, charging him with bringing them there to kill them. They actually were close to killing Moses for having allegedly misled them, Ex. 17:2-4; Ibid., ftn. to Ex. 17:2. (Ryrie notes the KJV word for "chide" is "argue".)
    4. Now, the campsite had been clearly chosen by God's movement of His cloud to that spot (Num. 9:22-23 with Ex. 13:21-22 and Ex. 17:1), so Moses asked the people why they argued with him [when God was the One Who had led them there], and why they thus tested God by arguing with him! (Exodus 17:2b)
    5. Yet, in distress, the people were blind to such insight, and kept blaming and wanting to harm Moses, 17:3f
    6. Fearing the troubled people and not knowing what to do, Moses called out to God for help, Exodus 17:4!
    7. The Lord's response revealed how Moses was to handle such new, seemingly overwhelming trials, 17:5-7:
      1. God had Moses rely on the PRECEDENTS of God's working in his life to that date, Exodus 17:5-6a:
        1. God had Moses rely on the precedent of God's call for Moses to lead Israel, Ex. 17:5a: (1) Moses was to "Go on before the people," Ex. 17:5a; (2) this charge recalled God's calling Moses back at the start of his ministry at the burning bush to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, Exodus 3:1-10. (3) Thus, Moses was to assume his God-ordained leadership role regardless how the people felt about him, regardless what they said about him or regardless what they planned to do to him!
        2. God had Moses rely on the precedent of God's installing him to lead Israel before the elders, 17:5b: (1) Moses was to take with him the elders of the nation, Ex. 17:5b; (2) this charge recalled God's installing Moses as a leader of the people before the elders in Exodus 3:16-18; 4:29-31. (3) Thus, Moses was to assume his leadership role of Israel in keeping with his initial installation.
        3. God had Moses rely on the precedent of God's supernatural gifting of him for service, Ex. 17:5c: (1) Moses was to take the rod with him, the rod by which he was to do supernatural miracles that authenticated his ministry, Ex. 17:5c with Ex. 4:1-5. (2) Thus, Moses was to function as leader in the power of God's supernatural gifting that provided the key to ministry success before Israel!
        4. God had Moses rely on the precedent of God's previous ministry achievements, Exodus 17:5d: (1) Moses was to take the rod that God noted he had once used to strike the Nile River, Ex. 17:5d. (2) Now, that event had caused the Egyptians to be unable to drink from the Nile, cf. Ex. 7:20-21. (3) Thus, Moses knew God planned to have him use his rod as he had at the Nile to meet the current need, that he was going to need to strike something as he had struck the Nile River back then, 7:20!
      2. God had Moses rely on God's POWER for the present crisis at Rephidim, Exodus 17:6b:
        1. The Lord had Moses strike a rock, the least likely object from which to draw water, Ex. 17:6a,b!
        2. Moses struck the rock in faith, and God miraculously provided running water from it, Ex. 17:6c-7.
Lesson: Through focusing upon the PRECEDENTS of God's calling, installation to leadership, supernatural gifting and previous achievements in his ministry as well as on God's POWER for the present overwhelming crisis, Moses overcame the crisis to bring drinking water out of a solid rock!

Application: May we handle unprecedented, great trials by relying on precedents and God's power!