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Beware Of The Place Called Massah And Meribah

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” (Matthew 4:7; Deuteronomy 6:16NKJV)

Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah (Deuteronomy 6:16)

Is it possible to tempt the Lord?

God is the Almighty and all-powerful God so how can mortal man tempt Him?

Yet the Bible warned in Deuteronomy 6:16 that you shall not tempt the Lord your God as the children of Israel did in Massah.

Jesus also quoted this verse to rebuke the devil who was tempting Him to jump off the pinnacle of the temple so that God would send angels to catch Him.

Suffice it to say Jesus did not yield to the devil’s temptation but rebuked him with the Word from His mouth.

Wilderness in Namibia, Africa. Image courtesy of

The children of Israel also tempted the Lord in the wilderness.

Their water had depleted and they could not find any water in the desert.

The people quickly forgot about God’s numerous provisions and the miraculous parting of the red sea and complained against Moses and God.

They murmured among themselves that Moses led them into the wilderness to kill them with thirst.

They formed an uprising and threatened to stone Moses if he did not give them water.

When the angry mob turned against Moses he could only turn to God for help.

The Lord instructed Moses to strike the rock in Horeb to get water.

And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not? (Exodus 17:7)

The children doubted the Word of God that stated that He would make streams in the desert for His people.

They doubted the Word of God that said He would never leave nor forsake them for His great name’s sake.

The people doubted the Word of God that He would supply all their needs according to His riches in glory through Jesus Christ.

Because they doubted God’s Word, they tempted Him to wrath.

Thus the name of the place was called Massah, which means temptation, and Meribah, which means strife or contention.

How was the wrath of God manifested in this place?

Usually, the wrath of God is poured out as consuming fire, plagues, or immediate death.

But at Massah and Meribah it was different.

The people tempted God to do the unthinkable.

The striking of the rock!

The gravity of this action became evident later when the Israelites journeyed in the wilderness of Zin. (See Numbers 20)

The people once more complained against God because they had no water.

Although the Lord was angry with the rebellious people He told Moses to speak to the rock.

However, Moses was frustrated with the people and struck the rock twice. 

Moses lost his position in the Promise Land as a result of this action. 

The striking of the rock was a sacrilegious act.

Don’t strike the rock when you can speak to it.

The Word from the mouth of God can produce miracles.

The Word from the mouth of God can destroy the enemy.

Therefore, speaking the Word of God to the rock will make it spring forth water.

However, at Mount Horeb, the rebelliousness of the people tempted the Lord and in anger, He told Moses to strike the rock.

Lack of faith and trust will tempt the Lord.

Therefore, my friends

Trust in the Lord!

Trust His Word!

And you will never enter into the dark place of Massah and Meribah.

Other references: Deuteronomy 4:31; 1 Samuel 12:22; Isaiah 35:6; Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:19

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

(For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. (Deuteronomy 4:31)



  1. Thanks Beverley. This reminds me of the power in our words. We must speak in alignment with the Word of God. And also this reminds me that obedience to God is important. Moses disobeyed God’s command to speak and there were consequences.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Indeed, to obey is better than sacrifice. God did not want a repeat of what happened in Massah but Moses as the leader disobeyed. To whom much is given much is expected. Bless you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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