The Israelites are now free of the Egyptians, but struggling with food and water as they march through the desert. God is willing to help, but that help comes with many strings attached as we learned in Exodus 16. Exodus 17 is titled “Water From the Rock” so I’m guessing there’s some impossible science coming up. 🙂 The people were hungry in Exodus 16 and now they are thirsty in Exodus 17.
“The Lord answered Moses, ‘Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.’” – Exodus 17:5-6
Scientifically impossible. The Bible would be much more believable if the stories were more realistic. It would be much more believable if God pointed Moses to a place to dig a hole and several feet down, Moses finds water. That would be a believable. Water spouting out of a random rock in the desert is not believable.
“So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” – Exodus 17:10-12
God is once again helping the Israelites, but that help comes with conditions. A parent loves a child unconditionally, but God’s love is not unconditional. In this case, God loves the Israelites and helps them defeat the Amalekites, but only if Moses keeps his hands raised. Really? That’s petty. God is up wherever getting pissed when Moses gets tired and lowers his hands. Then I must wonder about God’s intelligence. Moses eventually rests his arms up on a rock, so he’s not really raising his arms. He’s tricking God to some extent and God doesn’t realize this. More evidence that God is not all-knowing.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.’ – Exodus 17:14
Except God didn’t blot out the name of Amalek. The Amalekites return later (e.g. 1 Samuel, Isaiah, etc.). More to the point, if the name of Amalek was really blotted out, we wouldn’t be discussing it now as it wouldn’t appear in the Bible.
To sum up Exodus 17, the Israelites are thirsty, and God provides water through an impossible method. God helps the Israelites defeat the Amalekites, but only with strings attached. This is all evidence that God’s love is NOT unconditional.
Coming Soon: Exodus – Chapter 18: Jethro Visits Moses