Not Coated in Chocolate





Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.

Exodus 17:7

And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”



Meribah means quarreling.

Massah means testing.

The people of Israel had seen the Lord work – up close and personal. They had witnessed their enemy routed. They had stood on dry ground between the walls of a mighty sea.

They had seen

… and just as quickly had forgotten.

Or worse, maybe they were just never satisfied.

Maybe they had let themselves become the spoiled kid who whines for a gift but is satisfied only at its giving – soon discarded, when another ‘want’ comes within view. Gimme gimme!


“Do not harden your heart as you did that day when you tested me asking, “Is the Lord among us or not?”


Our hearts are left as pillars of salt when we look back with longing at the gift,

instead of ahead with trust in the Giver.



Don’t let your heart get hard.

Don’t let it get cold.

I look across my classroom, across the air waves, and interwoven on the web, and it is so easy to feel the finger of wickedness infiltrating its frigid despair.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold
Matthew 24:12

So, exactly how do we keep our hearts warm when death and destruction circle around like a hungry pack of wolves? How do we keep our hearts soft when doubt and despair tighten their grip like a long and hard winter?

… How do we keep the love from growing cold?

Yet here are the directions, as clear as the sun rising beyond my window:

Don’t quarrel.

Don’t test God with hoops to jump through or complaints to cure.

Don’t question the faithfulness of his presence saying,“Is the Lord is among us or not?” This is a question we should ask of ourselves – to water our mustard seeds –not a question to wag a finger in doubt.

We are reminded to daily

forget not all his benefits … and trust.

The truest trust.



Not easy.



Not candy-coated.



Jesus, let repentance keep soft my heart.

Let thankfulness keep humble my thoughts.

Let your Truth keep strong my spirit.