At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. – Numbers 20:23-24
There are consequences to choosing to “remain in Egypt“. God wants to provide for us and if we choose to reject his provision we may miss the promised land he has for us. Aaron and Moses chose poorly when they did not trust God at Meribah. They led the Israelites away from a deeper relationship with God rather than toward his kingdom.
I think as Christians we should apply a “Meribah test” to all of our choices and actions. Does what we plan to do or say lead people toward a deeper relationship with God or away from it? In a previous post we talked about how traditions and rules can encrust the blessings of God to the point that the original kernel of the Gospel is hard to see. It would be easy to blame our institutions and christian communities for all the ways that we do not effectively relay God’s love, but I think we must apply the “Meribah test” to ourselves as individuals in order to change the trajectory of the church (the body of Christ not the building).
What would the “Meribah test” look like in practice. On one level it might look like a WWJD bracelet that reminds us to reflect on what actions would most reflect what Jesus would do in a given situation. As much as I like the concept of the WWJD movement it seems a bit like a young football player asking himself what would Peyton Manning do in order to become a better football player. It may help, but it misses the fact that the young football player may have different skills, experience, and gifts than Peyton Manning. Let me be clear here — aspiring to be like Jesus is what we should all be doing. I am just saying that it may not be the encouragement and grace we need in a given situation to best lead people toward God.
For example, I do not have an amazing redemption story in which I was saved from drug addiction, abuse, or some other “dramatic” sin. My conversion story is one of battling my own self focus and the need to know on an intellectual level. This has given me a unique set of skills and experience than someone else might not have. My “Meribah test” will thus look different than someone else’s. The only way to effectively apply one’s own Meribah test is to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and prayerfully approach each day with a humble spirit and spiritual whiskers. We can’t all be Peyton Manning, nor should we be, but we can sure make a difference on any given play.
Prayer: God help me to follow you and use all the ways you have made me unique to lead others toward you.