September 30, 2013
I Corinthians 10:4
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In Friday’s blog we saw in two scriptures how Moses and Aaron got into trouble with God and both were refused entrance into the Promised Land because of it. In Exodus 17:5 and 6, Moses was told to strike the rock with his staff to bring forth water for the thirsty Israelites to drink in the desert near Horeb. Then in Numbers 20:7 through 12 there is recorded a second similar incident that happened about 40 years later in Meribah. But this time Moses was instructed to approach and “Speak to the rock…and it will yield it’s water….” But instead Moses presumptuously acted on his own, as recorded in Numbers 20:10 and 11:
And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock; and
he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of
this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod;
and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.
Yes, it was disobedience to God’s direct command. Moses was angry and acted out of that anger. I’m not sure I would do differently if confronted with around two million rebellious people under my charge! And it was only by God’s grace that He provided the water anyway!
But there is something greater here than just disobedience. In I Corinthians 10 Paul wrote about some of the trials and tribulations of Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the desert, about God’s miraculous provision for His people, and about their persistent rebellious attitude. In verse 6 he states, “Now these things became our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” So if these two incidents of Moses striking the rock are examples from which we are to draw instruction for our Christian lives, what are we to learn here?
Just before telling us these wilderness examples are for our learning, Paul, in I Corinthians 10:4 says, “And [they] all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” Jesus is likened to the desert rocks from which water was procured for the thirsty Israelites. In I Peter 2:8 Jesus is called “…a stone…a rock….” In Matthew 16:18 it is powerfully implied that the Lord is the Rock upon which the Church is built, not Peter. In Luke 20:17 and 18, Jesus – quoting Psalm 118:22 – said:
What then is this that is written: “The stone that the builders rejected has
become the chief cornerstone? Whoever falls on that stone will be broken;
but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.
That Rock was Christ!
That Rock had to be stuck for the water of life to flow. He was struck when He was abused, reviled, mocked, scourged and crucified. It is only because Jesus Christ was so smitten that we can have eternal life! (I Peter 2:24). It is only by His shed blood that we are cleansed of our sins! (I John 1:7). It is only “…by His stripes we are healed…”! (Isaiah 53:5).
But it is emphasized in Hebrews 9:25 and 26 (NIV):
Nor did He [Christ] enter heaven to offer Himself again and again, the way
the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not
his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation
of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to
do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
He was to be struck only once, and once was enough for all the sin of all people for all time! This holds true both in the fulfillment of the type and the type itself that Moses was supposed to show forth if he had obeyed God!
And if Moses had obeyed and spoken to the rock the second time, the water would have flowed freely. Now we too only have to speak to the Rock to have the blessings flow out. Again in Hebrews, this time in 4:14-16, the writer says:
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. 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. Let us therefore come boldly to the
throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of
We now just come and speak to the Rock! And the blessings, grace and mercy flow out to meet our need! What a wonderful Savior we have!!!