The Israelites actually acknowledged that God brought water out of rock for them, but their rendering of it in the passage in Psalm 78 vs 20 made it look like another hard but certainly possible phenomenon. Here is the language in New International version of the Bible; ‘True, he struck the rock and water gushed out…but can he also give bread? Can he supply meat for his people?’
You’d think that getting drinking water from the rock to feed a three million strong people was just another walk in the park. I can imagine the arrogance that stood in defiance and reduced the miracle of bringing water from the rock into a mere event. When they were thirsty and crying out to God, they wouldn’t have imagined that water from a rock in a dry wilderness was remotely possible. I could imagine some of them thinking, this is the last issue that will settle if this God is really that almighty or just a pretender. They cried thirstily because solution didn’t seem possible. But God did give them water. He instructed Moses to strike the rock for water to come out. He did, and they drank to their fill.
But now, it is meat they crave. They have eaten manna. They drank water. Now it is meat they want, and all that God ever did for them pales away as a distant memory. They can now afford to rationalize. ‘Oh, about water, there is a small possibility that one can really strike the rock hard enough and water will come out. After all most waters comes out of rock as a general principle. Only in this case Moses was able to see that some particles of rock covered the fountain and he hit it with his staff to allow the water to flow out. Yea, that happened, but would you compare it to providing flesh? Enough flesh to feed this community?’
So many times, we have been here with the children of Israel. We come to a point that we believe that beyond it, we will never be in need anymore. Those periods look like where our lives will really end. We cry out to God and make all our promises and vows. Then He comes through. And God being who He is, decides to make the miracles seem as natural as possible. (God does not always want to appear in His whole majesty. When He did something close to that on Sinai, the Israelites ran for cover. So, he comes in a way that we will not be overwhelmed. He craves love, not fear). When God answers our prayer and removes the scary parts of the process- He could send a man, a doctor, a philanthropist, the government, an incident-then we remove our eyes from Him, and see the process as a coincidence.
When our big challenges are over, we sit back and rationalize and notice how ordinary the answers were, and we proceed to dismantle the awe of the miraculous around it. For some of us, it even leads to ingratitude. And so, when next we are faced with challenges, we can hardly build from our past testimonies and hence keep running round the same level and never really grow to live in faith. We forget that Satan’s strategy of attack is always upon our assurance. Most temptations are primarily for us to remove our eyes from God and look within, to take our eyes off of God and take account of appearances. So, we argue that water from the rock was a possibility, even if thin. ‘But meat for three million? That’s an over reach of faith. He certainly cannot beat this one!’
And because we saw the process and the channels, and not the God who has done it, we begin to analyse the solution to the problem vis-à-vis the environmental constrains. This thing pains the heart of God. Verse 21 says; when the Lord heard them, he was furious. It wounds the heart of the almighty when we don’t trust Him. It limits Him. And God hates to be limited. It was said of Jesus that he could not do much miracle in his home town because they did not believe him. The key for the miracle is usually in the hand of the one receiving it. There is an equation to receiving miracles. It flows from area of high concentration to low concentration. The power is with the almighty, but it flows to the most empty vessel. It flows to the hungriest, the one that wants it so much. Many believe that the power of God is arbitrary, He just heals or helps who He chooses to. Where we can agree that the Lord reserves the right to do what He chooses and how He does it, there is also an established principle that the one who hungers is filled. The woman with the issue of blood wanted healing so badly that she drew it from Jesus without His express permission. Conversely, we can limit his power when we doubt and doubt and doubt and use our ‘common sense’, our analytical minds to whittle down His power in our imaginations. Stop limiting God.
Scripture references: Psalm 78: 20-22; Mathew 13:53-58; Luke 8: 43-48.