Summary: When faced with challenges, prayer is the answer.
CHALLENGING THE CHALLENGES
Throughout their journey to the promised land the Children of Israel would face challenge after challenge to their faith. We still face challenges today in our lives. 1 Peter 1: 6-7 “ In this you greatly rejoice though for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire may be proved genuine.”
ILLUSTRATION... Sinking Ship, Steve Templeton in Woodmen of the World Magazine
Left on a sinking ship were the captain and three sailors. The captain spoke first. “Men, this business about a captain going down with his ship is nonsense. There’s a three-man life raft on board and I’m going to be on it. To see who will come with me, I will ask you each one question. The one who can’t answer will stay behind. Here’s the first question: ‘What unsinkable ship went down when it hit an iceberg?’
The first sailor answered, “The Titanic, sir.”
“On to the next question: How many people perished?”
The second sailor said, “One thousand five hundred and seventeen, sir.”
“Now for the third question,” and the captain turned to sailor number three. “What were their names?”
Now there is a real challenge! My desire as your pastor is that you be able to look at Scripture and apply it to your life. Life and its challenges have not changed that much since these Holy Words were written. Scripture is relevant to our lives today. God and His way of life is relevant to each of us. The passage this morning shows a progression in some of the challenges that Israel faced and how they challenged them in return.
READ EXODUS 17:1-16
I. THE CHALLENGE OF NO WATER (verses 1-7)
I guess when I think of Israel in the Old Testament I always think that they were falling away and disobedient. There is good reason for that. The whole books of Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and the many of the prophets show how they worshiped God and then fell away, worshiped God and then fell away. They really had a hard time following God’s instructions and keeping their part of the covenant.
One of the most important things to note here is that Gods people where going in the exact path and direction that God wanted them on and in. They had left Egypt and were following the exact commands of God. Being where God wants you to be is called being in God’s will. Doing what God wants you to do is called being in God’s will. This is most important for you and I also. For if you and I travel on life’s journey as God commands, then we too will be in God’s will.
We see in verse 1 one of the many challenges this people will face. They face the problem of being camped in an area with no water. Can you imagine 2 million people camped with little or no water?! They had no water. But what they did have was God with them no matter what they faced. It is the same for us. What we have to realize about this no water situation is that it was not new. In Exodus 15:22-27, after the crossing of the Red Sea, we are told that Israel was in a place where there was no edible water. Yet God provided for them and they had plenty of water. You and I might think I’m sure they have learned their lesson to trust God from the last time this happened but sadly we would be wrong. They were faced with challenges and did not remember that God could and would provide.
ILLUSTRATION... The effects of heat and no water, http://www.aircav.com/survival/asch13/asch13p02.html
The loss of salt due to excessive sweating causes heat cramps. Symptoms are moderate to severe muscle cramps in legs, arms, or abdomen. These symptoms may start as a mild muscular discomfort. You should now stop all activity, get in the shade, and drink water. If you fail to recognize the early symptoms and continue your physical activity, you will have severe muscle cramps and pain.
A large loss of body water and salt causes heat exhaustion. Symptoms are headache, mental confusion, irritability, excessive sweating, weakness, dizziness, cramps, and pale, moist, cold (clammy) skin. Immediately get the patient under shade. Make him lie on a stretcher or similar item. Loosen his clothing. Sprinkle him with water and fan him. Have him drink small amounts of water every 3 minutes. Ensure he stays quiet and rests.
A severe heat injury caused by extreme loss of water and salt and the body’s inability to cool itself. The patient may die if not cooled immediately. Symptoms are the lack of sweat, hot and dry skin, headache, dizziness, fast pulse, nausea and vomiting, and mental confusion leading to unconsciousness. Immediately get the person to shade. Lay him on a stretcher or similar item. Loosen his clothing. Pour water on him (it does not matter if the water is polluted or brackish) and fan him. Massage his arms, legs, and body. If he regains consciousness, let him drink small amounts of water every 3 minutes.