A Stone to Rest On (post preaching notes – Exodus 17)

My sermon from February 9 is up on the website (http://orencochurch.org/teaching), and I’m hoping to prioritize a few thoughts after I’ve preached on a regular basis to keep us thinking … I spoke yesterday about some of my favorites, Moses and the Israelites, and their adventures in Exodus 16 and 17. Moses was one tired guy, as their leader, and when it rained, it poured. Can you relate? First, there was the whining about the lack of food, along with their first accusation towards Moses trying to kill them (Exodus 16:3), and in Exodus 17, it continues, as they grow thirstier and thirstier out there in the desert. We thought Moses was trying to kill us. Now we know it! He must have water he is keeping from us! They again accuse him of trying to kill them in 17:3.

On and on it goes until we are reminded of God’s provision – then and now – there’s water from a rock and defeat of the Amalekites (17:1-16). Moses, growing more and more tired in these narratives, never seems to have enough help. As a pastor who today visited the hospital, investigated a leaking (?) toilet, and studied scripture, I kinda get the feeling! We grow weary. All of us are in need of others in our lives. And that brings us to our focus yesterday, good ‘ol Aaron and Hur who provide a stone for Moses to rest on and hold up his arms when he is heavy and cannot do this all on his own … (17:12). What would we do without those who hold us up?

In our time together during worship, I suggested during this divisive time in our country and perhaps even in our own families that we consider what we expect from our leaders and from others we are in relationship with. Here are three questions for us:

  1. Have you placed expectations on others that are not theirs to fill?
  2. Are those expectations causing discord and division between the two of you?
  3. What would it look like to let those go?

These are very tough questions. While the Israelites had all kinds of spoken and unspoken expectations for their leader, Moses, he was simply unable to provide everything and to be everything for them. Only God could get water from a rock. Only God could bring victory, not Joshua who did the fighting, not Moses who did the leading, not Aaron and Hur who propped up Moses’ arms. God did provide through each one of them … together, though. They needed each other. And so do we.

At Orenco Church, we are exploring one of our core values: the Body of Christ. This week, consider your relationships with discord, and ask those three questions of yourself. In our relationships, what are we able to let go of so that we can be better … together? And how can we help? Our friends may need a stone to rest on.