Massah is one of the locations which the Torah identifies as having been travelled through by the Israelites during their exodus out of Egypt. While the list of visited stations in the Book of Numbers does not mention Massah, Exodus 17:7 refers to Massah and Meribah as the place where a quarrel began. According to Moses, upon reaching Massah, Israelites lost faith and hope, questioning if God was really with them anymore.
“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah,” Deuteronomy 6:16.
As Gentiles began to convert to Christianity and receive the Holy Spirit, Pharisees sought to add Jewish traditions to salvation. This concept didn’t sit well with Simon, prompting Peter to stand up to address religious leaders gathered together at the Council of Jerusalem. According to Luke, Peter eludes to Deuteronomy 6:16. Adding circumcision to salvation is comparable to placing a yoke around the neck of the disciples. Making circumcision mandatory for everyone would de-emphasize the grace of God and cause potential converts to change their mind.
Now then, why are you testing God by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to endure? – Acts 15:10
Today, not only do people lose faith in God, but sects of Christianity have added legalistic practices which often confuse young believers. This atmosphere sets the stage for more people to test God, wanting some sort of sign or miracle for assurance. Yet, faith is the exact opposite of these natural desires. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1. Subsequently, you may find yourself in the dark from time to time, but remember what happened at Massah so you don’t repeat the same mistakes of the past.
by Jay Mankus