Meribah: The Proving Ground Where Faith Meets Fear
Have you ever experienced seasons of testing from God? The “trying of your faith” as James put it? (James 1:3) Are you in a season right now where you feel God is testing you? If so, embrace it! God has answered your prayer for stronger faith! In order to have stronger faith, you’ll need a situation where your faith is put to the test – not to prove your own strength, but to prove that in your weakness, God is strong! Remember this: The work God wants to do will first manifest inside of you and before you see it outside of you. While God could give you any miracle He wants, the true miracle is when you are transformed within and then you turn and use what He has done to transform the world!
In Exodus 17, the people who once celebrated the goodness and the great power of God immediately turned on Him when the ravages and despair and wandering in the desert began to overwhelm them…and then they realized they had no water. While God does permit His people to test Him, those rules work both ways: invitation only! You have the spiritual right to test the Lord- when He invites you to do so. And He will test you, too, at your invitation.
The Waters of Meribah Make You Bitter or Better
At the waters of Meribah, the Israelites, “tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?”“ (Exodus 17:7) Even after all He had done! Parting the Red Sea, drowning the most powerful military force on earth, the ten plagues – and now this? Meribah was a proving ground for the people of God and they failed miserably. Why? Because God had already proven Himself so many times that, by this point in time, their faith should have been solid – yet in the day of difficulty, sadly, it floundered! This is what happens when you rely on your feelings and instead of your faith in His faithfulness.
Psalm 81:7 says, “You called in trouble, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah.” When we cry to the Lord in our trouble, He delivers and answers! But then? He wants to know if your faith is in your head or your heart- and so does Satan! The Lord’s faithfulness puts your faith in Him to the test when the trying of your faith is part of the plan for your betterment, strengthening, spiritual growth and ability to wage war in the heavenlies. You are part of His plan of salvation for the world, but when hard times come and you fail the test of faith, after seeing all the many ways God has been faithful in your life, your testimony of faith doesn’t reach the world who needs it!
Invite the Lord to test you where you’re angry; where you are hurt; areas you’ve been hiding; areas where you have unforgiveness; areas where you fight against your flesh. The Lord wants to test you in those places. Why?? So He can prove to you who you are and so He can prove Himself to you! The Lord wants to equip you, arm you, invigorate you, strengthen you for battle… but that means you’ll need to invite Him to test you in areas that you’re weak, dry and fading in your faith, at your Meribah. Satan wants to expose your weak areas so he can use them to destroy you. The Lord wants to expose your weak areas so He can use them to destroy Satan! Will you let Him test you so He can prove Himself?
Thought for today: The Proving Ground Proves God is Faithiful
The word “Meribah” means “contention”, “difficulty” or “strife” and the Lord said “I tested you” there – at the point of your weakness and struggle. God doesn’t test the areas of strength. Why? Because the enemy isn’t interested in those! Your adversary won’t usually attack in the areas where your strong in your faith. He’s going right for the jugular. He wants to keep you weak, afraid, angry, hopeless, in pain and trapped in grief and doubt because he can defeat you there. Your “Meribah” is your proving ground, the place where God wants to test you and prove Himself– the area of your greatest struggle, your greatest fear.
It’s in those very areas that we all suffer in our weakness and try to “test” God and His miracle-working power as the Israelites did, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?” But that’s not how it works! We don’t get to test God unless He extends the invitation, as He did in Malachi 3:10. He is faithful- end of discussion. He tests us at our invitation, when we ask Him to transform us, to use us, to make us more like Him. It takes a lot of humility and vulnerability to let God test you at “the waters of Meribah” – a place where you’re struggling and contending with the flesh. Here’s the thing:
At your “Meribah”, your heart is revealed, whether you cry out for help or shout at God and shake your fist. He already knows your heart! He’s testing you so that YOU can know your heart – and know His!! Do you “know His ways”? Do you trust Him? Invite Him to test you and let Him prove Himself!
The Lord Has More for You Because You are Part of His Plan!
- “A Song of Lament and Hope: The Harp in the Willow Tree”
- “When the Enemy Comes in Like a Flood, Walk on Dry Ground”
- “I Believe, Therefore I Speak”
- “When My Heart is Overwhelmed… Now What?”
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Way of the Worshipper on Amazon – and AVAILABLE NOW you can also purchase The Way of the Worshipper: A Devotional Workbook for deeper study, personal examination and spiritual growth!