Tested at the Rock

In distress you called, and I delivered you; answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah Psalm 81:7 ESV

The Bible makes it quite clear that God will never tempt us or even allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to deal with it. However the scriptures are equally as clear that God does test us. He is our Good Teacher as well as our Savior and our teacher often hands out pop quizzes. In the Old Testament the children of Israel had their first test at the Red Sea and when they cried out in fear God answered, parted the waters and destroyed the Egyptian army. On reaching the safety of the far shore they had a celebration of the great victory God gave them. But just a little over a month later God set up another test for them. He had Moses lead them out from the nice oasis of Elim which came complete with springs and palm trees to a desert place called Meribah, which in Hebrew means complaining or strife. Remember that only thirty days had passed since God had miraculously parted the Red Sea. And what did they do? Pretty much the same as we do when things aren’t going right – they complained. I do not know about you who are my readers in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia or Europe but I can attest that we Americans (myself included) are professional complainers. We complain about politics, money, culture, our own family and sadly even our pastors. We invent so many excuses for our weeping and wailing that I often wonder how God puts up with us. Why would He be even interested in such spoiled brats as we sometimes are? The good news is that He not only tolerates us, but He willingly and gently tests us to help us grow. You see while the children of Israel were busy belly aching about God’s travel plans, He was busy preparing to show them a miracle. He told Moses to get the people together in front of a huge rock. Maybe the muttering of the crowd stilled a bit as the people craned their necks to see what Moses was doing. They couldn’t imagine why they were gathered in front of a big rock. “How is this going to make things any better?” they wondered. Then God instructed Moses to take his staff, the same one he had held over the Red Sea when it parted and use it to strike that rock. As Moses obeyed a loud crack was heard and it split wide open and amazingly fresh beautiful water flowed out!

What a wonderful picture of the cross. Maybe because of our tendency to complain and doubt, Jesus told us to remember His death each time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Jesus knows how easy it is for us to start complaining, and yet instead of giving us the punishment which we so richly deserve, He allows the blow of the staff of the law to fall across His own shoulders. He was pieced for our miserable complaining and unbelief and from His side flowed a healing stream of blood that quenches our thirst in a way that no water on earth could do. What a wonderful Savior we serve! What a blessed and gentle Teacher. He brings us through the times of testing at the rock so that we can learn and believe and walk closer than ever by His side!

Remembering

Remembering

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.          Luke 22:19 ESV

At His table in Springtime
He comes as seed for open hearts 
Remembering that He gave Himself 
 While we lay still and cold and dark

Then in Summer we remember
He’s the true Vine growing strong
Grafted in Him we are branches
Through His blood we each belong

 We remember when the Fall comes
That He brings our Harvest in
By His kindness and His loving hands
He gathers us to Him

Now in Wintertime remembering
That His promises still stand
Forever at His table 
We will feast with Him again 

Remembering by Peter Caligiuri © 2021 All rights reserved

Maundy Thursday _ Last Day of Lent

And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  Luke 22:15 ESV

Maundy Thursday is the somewhat overlooked day of Easter Week. But for Jesus this was the crucial time to prepare His disciples for His departure. At the Last Supper Jesus gave the New Covenant to both His friends and through them to us who are believers today. Every time we take communion in our various churches we continue to remember His death and atonement as people have done for 2,000 years.

At the Last Supper Jesus gave not only a New Covenant but He also set the example for a new lifestyle. While those we consider saints today were arguing over who was the most important, Jesus went and filled a basin with water and began to wash their feet.

When supper was finished Jesus led His eleven faithful disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. There He fully and finally accepted His coming death on the cross. There He woke them again and again and urged them to pray also until Judas came with the soldiers. And then the hour had come for His sacrifice. Even when everyone ran away, Jesus stayed behind, accepting the cost of our salvation. He was the Lamb of God and this gift of His body and blood we are remembering today because it means the redemption of us all!

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