Exodus 17:2-6 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.
1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
I am going through a chronological Bible reading plan this year with a small group of men, with my wife, and a small group of her lady friends. I am also co-teaching through Exodus / Numbers in our Wednesday program at church. As I read today’s chapters (Exodus 16-18) I was reminded afresh that when the Israelites began complaining to Moses about food and water, he reminded them that their complaints were not against him, but rather against God. I had forgotten he had told them this as the story keeps going and they are always blaming Moses and never (if my memory serves me right) God directly.
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians looks back upon the Exodus account and states that the Rock which was struck was Jesus. How is this possible? I think it goes something like this…
The Israelites were in sin because of their grumbling and complaining. In the midst of their sin, God tells Moses he is going to stand there on the Rock and himself be struck before the people by the rod which was a symbol of power. Once struck, water flowed out to replenish and serve the people. The image is powerful as Christ himself was struck at Calvary for our sin, and out of his wound flow rivers of living water for his people. The image in the wilderness is that God himself will bear the judgment of their sin, and will lead them faithfully if they will simply trust him.
It is a good reminder today for every sin you and I have committed, Jesus Christ himself stood before the people and was struck with judgement by the power of God. What a grace it is that we don’t need to bear our own judgement or carry away our own sorrows.