“Who are you checking with”
Adams United Methodist Church Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church Sermon
Pastor Missy McCarthy September 27, 2020 17th Sunday after Pentecost Scripture: Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 Exodus 17:1-7
Children’s Moment: When you get stuck at home who do you ask for help? What about in other situations? Who do you ask for help? The Hebrew people were in the desert and were hot and thirsty and they kept asking Moses for water. Doesn’t that seem a bit silly? How was he supposed to give them water? It isn’t like he could just make water appear. They started to get mad at him and insist that he give them water immediately. Moses was afraid the people were going to hurt him. He prayed to God to help him and them. So, God told Moses where to find water. The people were just asking Moses, when they should have been asking God for help. Sometimes we are so busy yelling about something, we aren’t asking God for help. This week when we get a really tough problem, let’s ask God to help us and then ask people for help. That way God can help us ask the right person and match us up with the person who can help us with our problem. When we go to God first, we can hear when God helps us find the answer to our problem faster. When we trust God first, we don’t get mad and angry and upset first, but we can breathe easier and be happier in the time of waiting. Let’s pray.
Reflection: “Who are you checking with” We continue our journey with the people of Israel. We hear them grumbling, mumbling and whining to Moses again. This time they are complaining about no water. They are so frustrated that they are again looking backwards remembering slavery as being better than where they are now, and insisting Moses make water for them. They complain about his leadership again threatening to stone him. Once more the people take their frustration with the journey out on Moses as the leader and complain to him and about him. As I read, I kept wondering, “Why do they keep asking everyone but God for what they need?” God is still with them. There is still a cloud of presence leading them, they still are getting manna and quail….yet they don’t seem to be able to trust God. This nation of God’s people has some serious trust issues with their God. As a person who has learned to trust God with my entire existence over the last decade, I had to take a step back for a few minutes. Think about the nation of Israel. They had been an enslaved people for over 400 years. They did not trust easily. The Egyptians had not given them reason to trust and the Lord was just now leading them to freedom. So, could they trust the Lord? They weren’t sure. They didn’t know who they could trust. When we look back on our own lives and those we care about think about how hard it is to trust others…what if someone has hurt you – does that make it easier or harder to trust new people and new situations? How easily do you trust? Do you trust God to lead you? Can you see how this may be an issue for someone who has been hurt in different ways than yourself to trust others or even God? We want to yell at Israel and say, “Can’t you see what is right in front of you – literally the cloud of God’s presence – trust God to be enough, just check in and ask.” Yet, when we are honest, when was the last time you were worrying, anxious and getting yourself worked up over something and checked in with God? When was the last time you trusted God to be enough? We can look around us and see evidence of God around us too – the beauty of the changing colors on the trees, the bounty of the fall harvest, the laughter of our children, grandchildren, or even the neighborhood kids – and yet it is still hard to remember to trust the God who knows the number of hairs on our heads. God tells Moses to go to the rock and strike and it – literally laying his faith upon it. How hard must it have been for him to take an entire group with him of the most respected elders and strike a rock in hopes that something would happen? It made me think though, that Jesus is our rock, our one sure foundation, the very thing that we are to trust, even when it is hard to trust, and still we struggle to do it. The people of Israel aren’t the only ones. We are given an opportunity to keep striving to grow into the people God is calling us to be. We can be the people who lean into God and where God is leading us, to trust God to be enough and rejoice. A people who don’t merely survive the desert but rejoice. We can hear the difference in the accounts of the miracle of the water – between the Psalm (a later retelling) with joy and rejoicing in the water from the rocks, and the end of the story when the people named the place arguing and testing. Which story do you want to be your story? Rejoicing in God’s miracles or grumbling over the arguing? This week are you willing to trust God to be enough? Are you willing to rejoice over something, no matter how small? When the urge to complain, and rail against something arises are you willing to go to God in prayer and be willing to look for God to meet your need in unexpected and surprising ways? How will you respond when the unexpected happens? Will you focus on the discomfort of the situation or rejoicing in the answer to prayer even if it isn’t the way you wanted it to be?