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Massah And Meribah

Massah, from the Hebrew word pronounced mas-saw, means to test. Meribah, from the Hebrew word pronounced mer-ee-bah, means to quarrel or provoke. Those words were used as names for a place in the desert where the faithless Israelites continued to complain and whine - while blatantly ignoring all that the LORD had done, and continued to do, for them during and after the Exodus.

Who was it that they were testing and provoking? What is the Christian lesson from their example of faithlessness?

"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ [see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'].

10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:1-12 KJV)

"Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted"

The LORD had already guaranteed their defense from any attacking army (see Why Through The Sea? and Winds Of Deliverance) and plenteous supplies of food and water (see The Waters Of Marah And Elim and Manna For The Children) for them, but the Israelites still had no faith.

Aaron's Rod

"17:1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from The Wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.

17:2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink.

And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?" (Exodus 17:1-2 KJV)

The Israelites' complaining reached dangerous levels - they were "almost ready" to stone Moses.

"17:3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?"

"17:4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me." (Exodus 17:3-4 KJV)

The LORD then provided for them, through Moses (see The Master's Messenger).

"17:5 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.

17:6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink." (Exodus 17:5-6 KJV)

Water was then again provided - but the Israelites still had no faith. It would eventually cost them their deliverance (see A Journey Without A Destination).

"And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

17:7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?" (Exodus 17:6-7 KJV)

Fact Finder: Aaron's rod was miraculously used during the Exodus, and afterward, as described in the verses quoted above. What was eventually done with Aaron's rod? Could it someday be found along with the Ark?
See Where Is Aaron's Rod? and Raiders Of The Lost Ark


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