Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre. Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast; this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob. He established it as a statue for Joseph when he went out against Egypt, where we heard language we did not understand. He says, “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah “Hear, O my people, and I will warn you if you would but listen to me, O Israel! You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god. I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. “If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever. But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” (NIV)
At the start of my journey of reading five psalms a day the purpose of this journey was to help me improve my prayer life. During this journey I also discovered the writings of Oswald Chambers. In his October 17 devotional The Key of the Greater Work, he makes this statement about prayer “Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work. Yet we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God’s work”. As I reflect upon this statement I am reminded of the Paul’s references to prayer:
Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints
I Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.
Philippians 1:4 – Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.
It is prayer and worship then that must play an important part in our daily spiritual walk. As I consider the first four verses of this chapter I see the importance of daily worship. Do I have a song of praise in my daily walk? Do I thanks the Lord for my daily needs that have been met? Do I take moments from my daily walk to devote to prayer? Do I consider prayer as asking God for something, or is it a request that we present before God? A great example of prayer from the business world would be that of a budget request. We put together our budget and then submit it to our manager and hope it gets approve. Prayer is the process of submitting our request to God. In verse ten we see God wanting us to open our mouth wide and he will fill it. However, we have not listen to God. Our prayers (budget request) are not in line with what is needed. We ask for things outside the requirements of God’s will. Verse seven gives us an example of what prayer is like “in your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you and I tested you”. The two parts of prayer are seen in this verse. I called and God rescued me. I ask and he fulfilled my requested desires.
The second part is the testing God gives to each believer after he has answer their request. This testing by the waters of Meribah comes when God has already answer our prayers, however we are again in a place that we need God’s help again. In Exodus 17 this place is called both Massah (which means testing) and Meribah (which means quarreling). Question yourself and considered if your request before God is either testing God or quarreling with God? Sometimes during our journey on this earth we get hungry and thirsty for spiritual things in our life. However, instead of asking God to meet these needs we start to complaint about how God has just deserted us. We let our hearts become stubborn like Israel and stop listening to God and stop following his ways. To succeed in this time of testing we must practice the principle of trust and obey and know that God is God.