Deuteronomy 5-6

Thursday Evening Bible Study

September 30, 2010


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The name “Deuteronomy” means “Second (deutero) Law (nomos)”.

This book is a series of messages that Moses gave to the nation of Israel during the last month and a half of his life.

It’s been almost forty years since God gave Moses His laws on Mount Sinai.  It’s time for a review.

Moses started with a brief historical review.

He reminded them of how they made it through the wilderness and began to conquer the Amorite kings.

We now begin the review of the Law.

Deuteronomy 5

5:1-22 Ten Commandments reviewed

:1 And Moses called all Israel, and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them.

:2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.

:2 covenant[email protected] – covenant, alliance, pledge

The Ten Commandments were part of a legally binding contract that God made with Israel.

The sealing of the contract took place with the sprinkling of blood –

(Ex 24:5–8 NKJV) 5 Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. 6 And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words.”
This was like signing a contract, making the agreement between God and the nation of Israel official.
 (Heb 9:18 NKJV)  Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.

As Christians, we don’t fall under this contract, but a newer contract, one that does away with the old one.

(Mt 26:26–28 NKJV) —26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

There is great value in understanding the Old Covenant, the Old Testament, the Old Contract.  God’s nature hasn’t changed, and the Old Covenant tells us much about God’s nature.

But God’s conditions for approaching Him have changed, so that we now come through the blood of Christ, and not the obedience of the Law.


The value of the Law

1. The Law shows us our need.
One of the things the Law produces in us is the awareness of how far short we fall of God’s ways.

(Ga 3:24 NKJV) Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

(Ro 3:20 NLT) —20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

2. The Law shows us God’s ways.
When we are filled with the Spirit, God will begin to produce all these kinds of things automatically in our lives under the Spirit’s power.

(Ro 8:4 NKJV) that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

:3 The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.

:4 The LORD talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.

God was not just a person in a Sunday School story for these people.  They had encountered God at Mount Sinai.

They saw something on the mountain.

Even more important, they actually HEARD God’s voice.  They heard God give the Ten Commandments.

:5 I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain. He said:

:6 ‘I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

:7 ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.

:7 no other gods

This begins a review of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20).  This is the first commandment.

:8 ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

:9 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

:10 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

:8 You shall not make for yourself a carved image

This is the second commandment.

:11 ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

:11 the name … in vain

This is the third commandment.

It’s using the Lord’s name for the wrong purposes, such as manipulation or magic or selfish desires.

It’s misrepresenting Him.

:12 ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.

:13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,

:14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.

:15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

:12 Observe the Sabbath day

This is the fourth commandment, the end of the first “table” of the Law.  The first four laws (or, the “first table”) deal with man’s relationship with God.  The last six laws (or, “second table”) deal with man’s relationship with man.  We think each “table” was one of the stone tablets.

When Jesus was asked what He thought was the greatest commandment, He summarized each “table” of the Law. 
The first was to love the Lord, summarizing the commandments about God. 
The second was to love your neighbor, summarizing the commandments about men.

There is a balance we need to consider with the Sabbath Law. 

It’s not for us.  It was a law intended for the Jews.
(Ex 31:16–17 NKJV) —16 Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ ”

Some people want to make it an issue as to what day we worship on.  They say that worship must always be done on the Sabbath, on Saturday.

We choose to follow the example of the early Gentile church, that seemed to choose Sunday as their worship day, in honor of the resurrection:

(1 Co 16:2 NKJV) On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

Someone may want to make an issue of the specific day, but in reality the day isn’t an issue.

(Ro 14:5–6 NKJV) —5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it…

It would be a cool thing to worship God EVERYDAY!


Sabbath Principles

There are still valid principles to follow.
1. Work hard 
In our times, some people are experimenting with the four day work week.  We can become overly protective or our “free time”.  But sometimes I wonder if our culture is conditioning us to thinking that we aren’t able to work very hard.  The Bible’s idea of work is a six day work week.  Hmmm.
2. Rest 
Some people over-do it and never take a break.  God wants you to take a break.  He wants you to honor Him by taking a break.  Not only is it good for your health to take a break, but it’s a step of obedience and faith.  Do you trust God to take care of your needs enough that if you give Him a day of rest, you believe He’ll take care of your needs?
Today’s Bible reading included:
(Is 58:13–14 The Message) —13 “If you watch your step on the Sabbath and don’t use my holy day for personal advantage, If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, God’s holy day as a celebration, If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’ making money, running here and there— 14 Then you’ll be free to enjoy God! Oh, I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all. I’ll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob.” Yes! God says so!

It’s good to take a day and honor God.

:16 ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

:16 Honor your father and your mother

This is the fifth commandment.

Paul says this is the first commandment with a “promise” – if you obey this commandment then God will prolong your life.

I’ve often wondered if that’s just because your parents couldn’t put you to death, which they could do if you were a rebellious child.

:17 ‘You shall not murder.

:17 murder

This is the sixth commandment.

No, this does not mean that a state should not put a murderer to death.

It’s this same Law of Moses that gives the government the right to put to death a person who was guilty of murder.

:18 ‘You shall not commit adultery.

:18 adultery

This is the seventh commandment.

:19 ‘You shall not steal.

:19 steal

This is the eighth commandment.

:20 ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

:20 bear false witness

This is the ninth commandment.  Do not lie.

:21 ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’

:21 not covet

This is the tenth commandment.

Paul used this commandment as an example of how the Law works with our sin nature.

(Ro 7:7–12 NKJV) —7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.


Learning contentment

I think this is certainly one of the things that can get us into great trouble.  It seems that we never have “enough”, but always want “more”.
(Pr 27:20 NKJV) Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.
A customer in a bakery was observed carefully examining all the rich-looking pastries displayed on trays in the glass cases. A clerk approached him and asked, “What would you like?” He answered, “I’d like that chocolate-covered, cream-filled doughnut, that jelly-filled doughnut and that cheese Danish.” Then with a sigh he added, “But I’ll take an oat-bran muffin.”
Paul wrote,
(Phil 4:11-13 NASB)  Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. {12} I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. {13} I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

:22 “These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.

5:23-33 The people respond with fear

:23 “So it was, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders.

:24 And you said: ‘Surely the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives.

:25 Now therefore, why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the LORD our God anymore, then we shall die.

:26 For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?

:25 this great fire will consume us


Holy Fear

They are terrified of the reality of just who God is.
Sometimes I wonder if we really are aware of just how awesome, magnificent, powerful, all-knowing, and pure that God is.
They have caught a glimpse of God, and they are terrified.  They aren’t sure they are going to survive.
I sometimes wonder if you haven’t really tasted of God’s presence if you haven’t had an experience similar to this one.
Isaiah had a glimpse of God.  His response was:

(Is 6:5 NKJV) So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”

:27 You go near and hear all that the LORD our God may say, and tell us all that the LORD our God says to you, and we will hear and do it.’

:28 “Then the LORD heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me: ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken.

:29 Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!

:30 Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.”

:31 But as for you, stand here by Me, and I will speak to you all the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I am giving them to possess.’

:27 You go near


The Mediator

The people were too terrified to come directly to God.  They were okay with Moses being their “go-between”, their mediator.
Moses is no longer the “mediator”.
(1 Ti 2:5–6 NKJV) —5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
Jesus died for our sins so we would no longer have to be afraid of God’s wrath in facing God.
You now have someone who will stand before you and God.
You now have a way to God.  Say yes to Jesus.
(Heb 4:14–16 NKJV) —14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
We are now allowed to come boldly before God ourselves, because of what Jesus has done for us.
Sometimes I wonder if I really understand all this.  An indicator that I don’t take this as seriously as I should is the fact that I worry so much.
Paul said,
(Phil 4:6-7 NLT)  Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. {7} If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

If I am really putting my problems and worries in God’s hands, and if I really believe that God is going to do what is best, then I am able to receive God’s peace.

:32 “Therefore you shall be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

:33 You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.

Deuteronomy 6

6:1-9 The Greatest Commandment

:1 “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess,

:2 that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.

:3 Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you— ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’

:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!

:4 Hear, O Israel

The Shema

שְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ יְהוָ֥ה׀ אֶחָֽד

(shmah yisrael adonai elohenu adonai echad)

This is what is known as the great Shema, the basic cry of a Jew.

Shema comes from the first word, “hear”.

According to rabbinical tradition, the Shema originally consisted only of verse 4 but was later expanded to include verses 5-9; 11:13-21; and Num. 15:37-41.  According to verse 7, it was to be recited morning and night.

There are two emphases in this verse.

1)  Yahweh is unique, and the only God of the Jews.
It could more properly be translated, "The LORD is our God, the LORD alone."
2)  He is one God.
This doesn’t contradict the doctrine of the Trinity, since the word for “God” (Elohim) is a plural word, and the word for “one” (echad) is also used of the union of Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:24) to describe two persons in one flesh.

:5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

:5 heartlebab – inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding

:5 soulnephesh – soul, self, life, person, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion

These two words are very close in their definitions, yet in comparing other Scriptures where these two words are found together, it would seem that the word for “heart” might indicate more things like emotions and passion, while the word for “soul” might indicate things like the mind and understanding. (Deut. 19:6; 4:9; Ps. 13:2)

Loving God isn’t the only thing we’re supposed to do with our heart and soul, we are also to seek Him (Deut. 4:29), serve Him (Deut. 10:12), and put God’s Word into our heart and soul (Deut. 11:18).

:5 strength[email protected]‘od– might, force, abundance; muchness, exceedingly

:5 You shall love the LORD

A. W. Tozer said, “We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God.”

Jesus said this verse was the GREATEST COMMANDMENT. (Mark 12:30).

Everything in life flows from this.  God desires that we have a strong, intense, love relationship with Him!
When I truly love God, everything else falls into place.
If I love God, will I follow other gods?
If I love God, will I spend time with Him (Sabbath)?
If I love God, will I murder my neighbor?
If I love God will I covet what my neighbor owns?

:6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.

:7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

:7 teach them diligentlyshanan to sharpen, whet (as in sharpen a knife)

When used in the “intensive” form (as it is here), it means “to teach incisively”. 

It’s not just running the knife blade a few times over the pumice stone, it’s going over and over and over it until its razor sharp.

PlayKnife Sharpening” clip

It’s turning a piece of steel into a scalpel.

The idea is that we are to keep going over and over and over God’s Word with our children until they’re “razor sharp” in God’s Word.


Sharp kids

It is a parent’s responsibility to teach God’s ways to their children. 
Notice when this is to happen: 
…when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up
The idea is that this is to be happening all the time.
This is supposed to be a natural kind of thing, an extension of life.
It’s not having a half hour of “Sunday School”, it’s passing your own way of life on to your kids.
God’s Word isn’t going to be a part of your vocabulary with your kids unless it’s a part of your life. You need to spend time in God’s Word.  You be sure to be hearing what God is saying to you.
In Paul’s teaching, he wrote,

(1 Co 11:23 NKJV) For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you…

Have you received from the Lord?  Do you have anything to share with the kids?

:7 when you lie down … rise up
Late at night and early in the morning.
Our responsibility is to be teaching them at both ends of the day. It should be a natural, way of life kind of thing.  God isn’t saying you have to sit them down and have a Sunday School class once a day.  It’s more than that.  It’s teaching them all throughout the day, learning from all of life’s situations.
Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother’s house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away. “Johnny, wait until we say our prayer,” his mother reminded him. “I don’t have to,” the little boy replied. “Of course you do,” his mother insisted, “we say a prayer before eating at our house.” “That’s at our house,” Johnny explained, “but this is Grandma’s house and she knows how to cook!”

:8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

:8 a sign on your hand

The Jews took this literally, and developed “phylacteries”, which are little leather boxes with a bit of scripture inside.  They wear them on the hand or on the forehead.  They were originally intended as ways of reminding people to think about God’s Word but eventually became a religious ritual kind of thing, where you make a show of how spiritual you are to impress others.

:9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

:9 doorposts[email protected] – doorpost, gatepost

This too has been taken literally.  Years ago when Calvary Anaheim used to meet at the Jewish Community Center, you would see these little clay scroll things with Hebrew lettering on them nailed to the doorframes.

It is called a “mezuzah” (= doorpost)


Where does Jesus live?

It’s not uncommon for us to be giving our kids the wrong idea about where Jesus lives.
We can give them the impression that church is where Jesus lives.  We tell the kids that on Sunday we’re going to the “Lord’s house”.  But what they need to see is that Jesus lives at their house too.
When our kids see us be all nice and sweet to people at church, but yell, kick, and scream when we’re at home, then they’re not learning about the real Jesus.  Your kids will learn most about Jesus by watching what you do at home when you relax in front of them.

6:10-25  Don’t Forget

:10 “So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build,

:10 beautiful cities which you did not build

It’s never really about what we have done for God, but what God has done for us.

:11 houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant— when you have eaten and are full—

:12 then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

:12 beware, lest you forget


The danger of good times

If we had to choose between “good times” and “bad times”, we’d all choose to live our lives in “good times”.  But in reality, it’s during the “bad times” that we tend to seek the Lord more.
When I see a single person walk into the church for the first time, and they are pretty new to this “Jesus stuff”, most of the time they are here because something has fallen apart in their life.

Their husband/wife left them.  They lost their job or have been given a warning.  They’ve been kicked out of the house.  They’ve been arrested.

The sad thing is that when things begin to straighten out in their life, the temptation is to “forget” about the Lord and walk away.
This was what happened to King Uzziah:
Uzziah followed the Lord for most of his life, and God blessed him.

(2 Ch 26:5 NKJV) —5 He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.

But one day, Uzziah seemed to have thought he had “arrived”.

(2 Ch 26:16 NKJV) But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.

Uzziah crossed the line of doing the things God wanted him to do, and he did something that was not lawful for him as a king to do, he went into the temple and started doing something that only priests were allowed to do.

As a result, God struck Uzziah with leprosy.

This is the warning/blessing of Deuteronomy.
It’s the “Second Law”. It’s the review of God’s Word.
This is why it’s so important to make God’s Word a part of your life every day.
Remember what God has done.  Remember who God is.  Remember how much you need Him.

:13 You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name.

:14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you

:15 (for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the LORD your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth.

:16 “You shall not tempt the LORD your God as you tempted Him in Massah.

:17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you.

:18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land of which the LORD swore to your fathers,

:19 to cast out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has spoken.

:18 do what is right and good


Obeying is good

Obedience is not always the easiest thing to do.
But it’s the best thing to do.
There are rewards.

:20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the LORD our God has commanded you?’

:21 then you shall say to your son: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand;

:22 and the LORD showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household.

:23 Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers.

:23 brought us out to bring us in

Not just deliverance from our past life.

God has a whole new promised life for us.

The Christian life is not just about things that you no longer do – it’s about a new life of things that you do.

:24 And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day.

:25 Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’

:20 when your son asks


Passing it on to the next generation

There seems to be two steps involved in passing on your faith to the next generation.
You have to be living the life.

The Israelite parents had been delivered from Egypt.  It was a real story.

How would your children ever ask you about the Lord if they don’t first see you living it?

You need to talk about it.

Talk to your kids about what God has done in your life.

:16 You shall not tempt

Jesus quoted this verse when He was tempted by Satan:

(Lk 4:9–12 NKJV) —9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ 11 and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

Satan suggested that Jesus put God to the test by jumping off the top of the temple and expecting God to rescue Him.
Jesus considered this “tempting” God.

:16 MassahMaccah – “temptation”

“Massah” refers to an event that took place in Exodus 17 when Israel had entered into the wilderness and ran out of water. 

The people complained to Moses that God had led them into the desert to die.

God responded by asking Moses to strike the Rock with his rod, and water would come out.

(Ex 17:7 NKJV) —7 So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Just like Satan suggested that Jesus test God by jumping off the temple, these people were testing God with their complaining, challenging God’s plan and purposes for them.
These people had no place of challenging God like that.  They had more than enough proof of God’s care for them in how He delivered them from Egypt.

The issue is this:  Are you challenging God or asking Him?  Do you have the attitude of demanding God to do something, or are you crying out to Him, in dependence on Him.


Complain or trust?

There’s a Psalm that gives us some commentary on this incident.
(Ps 95:6–9 NKJV) —6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. 7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: 8 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.
Verse 8 can and should read:

(Psa 95:8 NASB)  Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness;

The situation is this:  You are in a difficult situation.  How are you going to come to God?
Are you going to challenge Him in what He is doing in your life?  Are you going to proudly dare Him to fix your problem?  That’s “tempting” God.
Are you going to humbly submit to Him, praise Him, and ask for His help?

That’s the heart that God is looking for.

I grew up singing in choirs.  You may not like or appreciate choir music, but it’s a part of who I am.  The emphasis of my music bachelor’s degree was choral conducting.
Complaining or trusting?  What is your “choir” singing?
A movement began in Helsinki Finland, where people decided to put their “complaints” to music.  It’s that’s spread around the world, people are singing out their complaints.  I counted 27 choirs around the world doing this.

PlayChicago Complaint Choir” video.

On the other hand, other people choose to sing about God instead of their complaints.

Play Brooklyn Tabernacle “I’m Amazed” video.