Lesson Twenty Two
GOD’S PROMISES AT MARAH
My husband and I decided we needed a change of scenery that wouldn’t involve a lot of time or money. We located a new and interesting place to explore in a nearby state. Everything we read looked like this town would provide just the right mix—a little history, some shops, and a few quaint restaurants. Expectations were high as we set out.
We arrived or so said the GPS, but nothing was as we anticipated. We checked the signs, and while they said the name of the town, it was nothing like we expected. No little shops; a not-so-appealing restaurant; and one gas station.
This was the Israelite experience. They talked as they walked about what they would see, the food they would eat, and best of all, freedom. Expectations were high. Three days later, not so much. They were tired. Their throats were parched. The scenery was all sand and no beach. This was not what was advertised.
The scenery was all sand and no beach. This was not what was advertised.
It wasn’t, however, their expectations that caused their discontent, although if set too high they can lead to serious disappointment. Their problem was that their expectations were not fixed on the Cloud ahead of them. Expectations without God will always end short. God knew the need for water. He knew the body and the spirit needed to be quenched. He led them to water, but in a way that required that they recognize how they got there and Who provided it. In setting their minds simply on their thirst, they lost the greater lesson.
In setting their minds simply on their thirst, they lost the greater lesson.
So how is it with you today? Feeling parched? Thirst can push us in directions that God never intended if we don’t connect our need of Him with our needs for today. Put all your expectations in God whether for yourself, your children, your goals, your desires, your needs. Discover the water He is providing—not water that is bitter, but the water that is sweet and satisfying because He has given it just for you. Drink full. Drink long. Be renewed.
The New Testament is full of stories about those who struggled with expectations particularly when it came to Jesus. Remember John the Baptist? He was a firebrand for God, but when he found himself languishing in a dark, damp prison, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matt. 11:3, NIV).
We are not unlike John. Even as strong believers, when things are not going as expected, we wonder why God has not acted in the way He has promised. We want Him to do what we want, when we want it, and meet our expectations because we have lived as He has asked. From our perspective, it seems fair. I do what You asked. Then You must do what I expect. And now who’s in charge of our future? It isn’t God.
Notice Jesus’ response to John: “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me” (verse 6). When things are not going well, it isn’t because God is not working. It is that our ability to see isn’t clear. Pray for understanding. Ask God to help you follow His plan even if it isn’t where you expect to be led.
Making it Real
For worship, read these verses on expectation. Are hope and expectation related? How?
2 Corinthians 8:5
Respond & Share
What does walking hand in hand with God feel like? Share your answers in the comments.
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.
Coming next week:
“FOOD FROM HEAVEN“
Based on Philippians 4:19, Exodus 16,
Patriarchs and Prophets: pp. 292-297; The Story of Redemption: pp. 126-131;
The Bible Story, vol. 2, pp. 140-145