Friday, March 06, 2015


“Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”  (Exodus 17:6a)

When some folks get to heaven, they will probably want their mansion a different color.  They always seem to find something about which to gripe.  That was a persistent flaw among the Israelis in the Exodus.  God’s provision in the past ought to have instilled confidence, but instead they respond to their problem with complaining.  How much like them we can be!

In Exodus 17, there is an example of one such DIFFICULTY (v.1).  They had no water.  This did not surprise God for He had led them to that very place by the pillar of cloud and fire.  The child of God must know that God brings us to barren places.  We arrive in seasons of dryness sent to test us and meant to teach us.  They come to drive us in desperation to God, not to make us despair of God.  Difficulties will make us better or bitter.  It depends on whether we respond with faith or fretfulness.

In their case, the Hebrews responded with DISCONTENT (v.2-3).  The root problem was their unbelief.  They failed to recall God’s unlimited power or rest in His unfailing promises.  Their stubborn heart of unbelief was an affront to God.  They set limits on Him by failing to recognize the boundless ability and absolute integrity of Almighty God.  “How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert!  Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel.”  (Ps.78:40-41)  God is warning us lest we have the same sinful spirit (see 1 Cor.10:1-13).

That is what brings DELIVERANCE (v.4-7).  Moses responded properly.  Rather than complain about the lack, he cried out to the Lord.  That is what difficulties are meant to cause.  If you are a leader in the church, you will find members who attack you because they are angry with God.  They can’t get to Him, so they gripe to you as His representative.  Moses, like all God’s men, become targets for the arrows of murmuring meant for God.  They fall short of heaven and hit our heart.  The example of Moses helps us.  He didn’t yell back at them in frustration, but called out to God in faith.  Like Jesus, Moses was meek (Num.12:3)—an essential quality for spiritual leaders.  Instead of clubbing the complainers, he strikes the rock.  That rock symbolized the Rock of Ages—Jesus Christ.  Paul said, “For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”  (1 Cor.10:4b)  As Moses struck that rock, so Christ was smitten on Calvary, and from His side flowed the water and the blood.  In that stream alone can we find eternal satisfaction.  Jesus told the Samaritan woman that drinking of this world’s wells would only lead to thirst again—she had tried that!  He offered her Living Water—that which will fill the thirst of our soul.  That is Jesus and Him alone.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.  (Joseph Scriven)

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