This morning I preached from Exodus 17:1-7. The gist of the story is this: The Hebrews are on the way from slavery in Egypt to the land that God had promised to them as the heirs to the covenant promises made to Abraham. They are on the way to the Promised Land.
They come to a place without water. They complain, loudly, and fear the worst. Their complaint has three parts to it and the crux of the issue is that they wonder if God has abandoned them. The closing words of the passage are these:
"Is the Lord among us or not?"
At the time those words appear in the text the question itself is rhetorical, because in verse 6 God has proved that, without any doubts, He is with them. The three parts of their complaint were that God didn't provide for them, that God didn’t protect them, and that God had abandoned them.
These people are God's chosen people, being led to their promised home. In the act of bringing water from a rock God answered their complaint, leaving no part of it standing. God did provide for them. God did protect them. And God most certainly was present with them. He was always present with them.
And He is always present today. We want to seem so much more enlightened than the Hebrews of the Exodus. We want to believe that our faith is so much more "advanced," for lack of a better term.
But we aren't. Things go awry and we worry. We panic. We despair. All too quickly we find ourselves asking the same basic question of the Hebrews. "Is the Lord among us or not?"
We ask the same question, and we receive the same answer. God is present. He is never absent from those He has called and gathered as His people. His ability to provide and protect us is greater than we can imagine. And He does all of these things most perfectly in Christ Jesus.
We closed worship this morning singing this hymn, O God Our Help In Ages Past.
God is our help, in ages past and in ages to come.
Is the Lord among us? The answer then, and now, is a resounding "Yes!"
Without question God is with us, now and forever. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.