“Why Do You Put The Lord To The Test?”

“Why Do You Put The Lord To The Test?”

Preacher Huijun - 13 November 2022

"Why Do You Put The Lord To The Test?"

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Exodus 17

1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

5 The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”


Crisis: Led by God to waterless wilderness.

  • What was the problem? Waterless wilderness OR God?
  • Israelites travelled to the waterless place “as the Lord commanded” <v1>.
  • Puzzle: If God was good, why did he lead them to a waterless wilderness?
  • A crisis of circumstances need not become a crisis of faith.


Negative lessons from Israelites’ response.

  • Two key problems: Forgetfulness and impatience.
  • First reaction was to grumble rather than pray.
  • Tested God.
  • What testing God means:
    • Put God on trial, and act as judge over Him.
    • Order reversed: God should be the Judge. God can test us, but we cannot test Him.
    • Blame God when God doesn’t do something He can easily do.
    • “Pleading” is different from “demanding”. God is not to be manipulated.
    • Wrong assumption: There are certain very “basic” things that God should give us.
    • <Ro 11:35> “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”
    • Testing God is doubting Him <v7>.
  • Testing God will not relieve our hardship and pain.
  • Testing of God is linked to hardening of man’s heart (cf. <Heb 3:7-9; Ps 95:8-9>).
  • Even in our suffering and pain, we must not sin.
  • Respond like Moses rather than like the Israelites.


God still showed grace despite the failures of men.

  • The repeated failures of the Israelites further highlight the exceeding grace of God.
  • Just as while we were still sinners and enemies of God, Christ died for us <Ro 5:8, 10>.
  • Salvation was not dependent on men’s works, but on God’s grace.
  • God not just brought water out from unlikely place, but even large enough amount to supply multitudes.
  • Greatest grace of God: Spiritual rock – Christ.
  • <1 Co 10> 1 For I do not want you to be ignorantof the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
  • 9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 
  • 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
  • 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 
  • Christ was smitten by God, so that those who believe in Him can receive living water (the Holy Spirit).
  • <Jn 7> 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Preacher Huijun
Preacher Huijun

Huijun joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a preacher in 2012. She is effectively bilingual and preaches occasionally at the Chinese service. She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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