Water from the Rock [Part 1]

By Alan Wright — June 29, 2018

Are you ready for some good news?

If you need something from the Lord, no sacrifice needed -- just speak to the Rock.

Today’s Text: “And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” (Numbers 20:11-12)

In Exodus 17, we see the people of Israel thirsting in the wilderness when the Lord said to Moses, “… take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile and go. … And you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it and the people will drink.”

So Moses struck the rock per the instructions of the Lord and the people and their livestock satisfied their thirst.

But, later, in Numbers 20, we see a very similar scene that oddly earns Moses a major rebuke. The people are thirsty so Moses strikes the rock (in fact he struck it twice) and water gushed forth like before. The Lord told Moses: “Because you did not believe in me … therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” (Numbers 20:12)

What had Moses done?

In the first scene from Exodus, the Lord had told Moses to strike the rock. But, in the later scene from Numbers, the Lord had given a different instruction: “Take the staff and … tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water….”  Moses had disobeyed. He struck the rock rather speaking to the rock.

OK. Moses messed up a little. But is this a great enough sin to banish him from ever stepping foot in the Promised Land? Seems so harsh doesn’t it?

The key to understanding Moses and the rock is found in 1 Corinthians 10:4 when Paul refers to the people of the Exodus declaring that they “all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock … and the Rock was Christ.”  The rock that Moses struck was a picture of Christ from whom living water flows.

The first time Moses struck the rock, it was a picture of Christ being crucified. The second time, however, Moses was not to strike the rock. Just speak to it. The picture becomes vivid. Christ need not be beaten again. It is finished. No more sacrifice needed. You can just speak to Jesus. And that’s the Gospel!

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