… they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. (1Co 10:4-6)
God told the nation of Israel that He would send one like unto Moses and they should listen to Him. Then, as Moses and later prophets slowly wrote the Old Testament, there was woven into the text many things that pictured the one who was to come. Jesus is in every book of the Old Testament. The New Testament reveals and explains many of these pictures, such as our text for today.
When the nation of Israel was making their way through the desert, they ran out of water. God instructed Moses to strike a huge rock with his rod. When he did so, the rock broke open and water gushed out of the rock and met their need for water.
God told Moses: Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 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? (Exo 17:6-7)
The greater truth in this story goes beyond giving thirsty Israelites water in the desert. On this occasion, Moses was to strike the rock and water would come gushing out. This was a picture of God smiting the coming messiah on the cross. When the soldier thrust his spear into the side of Jesus on the cross to make sure He was dead, there gushed out of Him blood and water.
This reminds us of God taking Adam’s wife, Eve, from the side of Adam while Adam was asleep. While Jesus “slept” in death on the cross, redemption poured out of his side as blood and water gushed out and the church, the Bride of the Lamb (Rev. 21:9) was taken from His side, even as Eve was taken from the side of Adam. How fitting that God quenched the thirst of Israel by striking the rock and pouring forth life-saving water.
Later, there was another water crisis. But this time, he was not to strike the rock. He was to speak to the rock and there would come forth life-saving water. This was a picture of God’s plan to save the world by people speaking to the Rock. Moses disobeyed the Lord and struck the rock again. Moses ruined God’s picture of salvation. After Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, He did not have to be put on the cross again. We have only to speak to the Rock, Christ Jesus, and the water of life will flow into the parched souls of repentant sinners who come to Him.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. (Num 20:7-12)
Moses did not lose his eternal salvation. But he lost his opportunity to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. His next important assignment was to go to the mountain to die. God’s work is to be done in God’s way. Moses later appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John.
In Jesus’ day, He referred to Moses and explained the problem they had with unbelief. Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? (John 5:45-47)
When Jesus preached, there was the crowd of scholars who loved to quote Moses to Him. This is Jesus’ answer to those proud hypocrites. They didn’t believe Jesus for the same reason they didn’t believe Moses. They were liars. They were religious on the surface but in their hearts, they did not want God to rule over them. Do you think we have gotten better about that today?
In Jesus’ day, there was a small remnant of people who knew and loved Jehovah God and therefore received Jesus as their promised Messiah. But, the clear majority of them accepted Him as an entertainer and ate his bread and fish. When it came down to the test, they voted to put Him to death. They rejected the Rock of their salvation. He was the rock the builders rejected. One day, Israel’s eyes will be opened and they will mourn what they did to their Promised Messiah.
Toplady wrote: “Rock of Ages, cleft for me; let me hide myself in Thee. Let the water and the blood from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure. 2. Could my tears forever flow, Could my zeal no languor know. These for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and thou alone; In my hand no price I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling. 3. While I draw this fleeting breath, When my eyes shall close in death, When I rise to worlds unkown, And behold Thee on Thy throne; Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JUNE 13, 2017 – TUESDAY
A.M. Ezra 3-5 P.M. John 20
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hos 4:6)
Song for Today:
Rock of Ages (4:10) (Gaither Congregation)
Be sure to hear Vestal Goodman sing the last verse…
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