<img class="size-medium wp-image-50533 alignleft" src="https:\/\/theenterprise.net\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/23\/2021\/03\/cross_1615292322-300x196.png" alt="" width="300" height="196" \/>By Rev. Tommy Shepherd,\r\n\r\nStuart United Methodist Church\r\n\r\n\u201cGrace upon Grace\u201d\r\n\r\nExodus 17: 1-7\r\n\r\nHave you ever felt as if God had abandoned you?\u00a0Why is it that we tend to believe that if we have no problems in life that God is for us while on the other hand if we are having difficulties, or sickness, or the like we think that God is against us?\u00a0God cares for us in our difficulties and in the good times.\u00a0The People of Israel are a prime example of God working in Grace.\u00a0As a matter of fact, when you study the exodus event what you will find is God displays grace upon grace as I hope we will see.\r\n\r\nIn Wesleyan circles, this is known as Prevenient grace.\u00a0Prevenient Grace is grace that \u201cgoes before.\u201d\u00a0It is the work of God to bring people to a place of safety.\u00a0Spiritually speaking, it is the work of God in bringing us to the point of salvation.\u00a0We see prevenient grace at work in saving Israel from certain death over and over again.\r\n\r\nSometimes we question God, because we find it hard to trust and keep the faith in difficult situations.\u00a0I want to encourage you that God is a God of Grace upon Grace!\u00a0Grace is a word that is thrown around a lot.\u00a0But what is grace?\u00a0In its simplest definition it is unmerited and undeserved favor.\u00a0The Israelite people have been exposed to God\u2019s Grace for some time now and one would think that they would have been getting used to the idea that God wanted what was best for them.\u00a0It was God\u2019s plan that brought Israel to Egypt during a great famine.\u00a0Israel was saved, God\u2019s Grace. While there Israel flourished, God\u2019s Grace.\u00a0Then a pharaoh came along who enslaved Israel.\u00a0Oh My!\u00a0\u00a0Has God forsaken us?\u00a0No!\u00a0God\u2019s Grace is at work when we have no idea that God is at work.\r\n\r\nBy God\u2019s grace they entered Egypt as a small band of people. 70 to be exact according to Genesis 46:27.\u00a0By God\u2019s grace they grew in numbers until they outnumbered the Egyptians. By God\u2019s grace they were placed into bondage by Egypt.\u00a0Wait a minute preacher, are you telling me that that was a part of God\u2019s plan?\u00a0Yes!\u00a0God was setting the stage just as He had told Abraham many years earlier in Genesis 15: 13-14.\u00a0God told Abraham that his decedents would be \u201caliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years;\u00a014\u00a0but I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.\u201d\r\n\r\nGod\u2019s plan included captivity for 400 years.\u00a0Why, because sometimes we get comfortable and don\u2019t want to change. God had to see to it that Israel wanted to flee from Egypt. Sometimes we can\u2019t see it at the time but when we look back, we can see that something was happening that we had no control over to bring us where we need to be.\u00a0That is what God was doing for Israel and that is what God is doing for us.\r\n\r\nIn Exodus 17:1-7, we see the issue was the lack of water.\u00a0What do the people do?\u00a0They complained against Moses. They still haven\u2019t learned that God has grace upon grace. They haven\u2019t learned that God is leading them, and that God will save them. Why is it that when things get difficult, we complain? We need to learn to do what Moses did when he found himself in a tight spot. We need to turn to the Lord, but most of the time \u2013 we complain to whoever will listen. I imagine that Moses must have been at his wits end (Exodus 17:4).\r\n\r\nWhen Moses cries out to God for help, God tells him to take his staff and go out with the elders of Israel to a rock.\u00a0He does and the Lord is standing there on the Rock.\u00a0Did the elders see the Lord?\u00a0We aren\u2019t told, but apparently Moses did for God said, \u201cI will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink\u201d (6).\u00a0There was nothing out there but rock and dirt, but Moses knew which rock to strike.\u00a0When he strikes the rock God brings forth water from the rock and the people get their water.\r\n\r\nIt was because of Moses\u2019 obedience to the Lord that Israel drank water from the rock.\u00a0Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:4 that \u201cthat Rock was Christ.\u201d\u00a0He also stated that that same spiritual Rock followed them.\u00a0Jesus said of himself,\u00a0\u201cLet anyone who is thirsty come to me,\u00a038\u00a0and let the one who believes in me drink\u201d\u00a0(John 7:37-38).\u00a0\u00a0We should know that even when we find ourselves in desperate situations that there is still grace upon grace.\u00a0Praise the Lord!