By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v. 2, Why do you test the Lord?
The struggle against sin is an important Lenten theme. All of us struggle against the tendency to resist the attractions of life. To talk seriously of sin is to wrestle with the reality of temptation. In Exodus, the people experience temptation as ‘tempting’ God. Said in a way that might make more sense for us, the people put God to the test. This temptation arises from the intersection of two realities: one, the awareness of a genuine need, and two, a question of God’s presence. The community is without access to water in the wilderness. This is an authentic need, and despite the pointed edge of the accusation against Moses and God, the crisis is real for a struggling community on the run. But the crux of the temptation is not the legitimacy of their need but a refusal to trust that God is present with them and will not abandon them. The people ask, ‘Is God with us or not?’ Rather than accept God’s trustworthiness and power to care as proved by God’s actions in their liberation and on their journey to this point, they reduce the relationship to a series of transactions, where God is judged based on each new circumstance. They are testing God, not trusting God.
Prayer Lord, help us to trust that you are always with us, closer still in suffering.