Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Rock that Followed Them

Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the Wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh; and Miriam died there and was buried there. 2Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and Aaron. 3And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: “If only we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! 4Why have you brought up the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here? 5And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.” 6So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8“Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” 9So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him. 10And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. 12Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to  hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” 13This was the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the Lord, and He was hallowed among them. (Numbers 20:1-13)

This was the second time that Moses was instructed to interact with the Rock that followed the children of Israel through the wilderness. The first time Moses was commanded to strike the Rock once (Exodus 17:1-7), and in this instance he was commanded to speak to the Rock. In I Corinthians 10 we are told that the Rock was Christ. This passage and the previous reference are examples for us to learn from.

Upon the cross, Christ was struck, and from his riven side came water and blood. Upon His resurrection the Holy Spirit was sent by the Son and by the Father to dwell within us. Subsequent to His resurrection, Christ is never again to be crucified for sin (Hebrews 6:6). We are commanded to ask, and it shall be given; seek, and we shall find; knock, and it shall be opened up to us. On the basis of the first striking, we now are to simply ask the Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, fully trusting the work of the Holy Spirit, and God shall supply all our need according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.

This passage speaks against the repeated crucifixion of Christ implicit in the Mass. This passage speaks against a life lived in sin after we have been cleansed of sin, by faith in the atoning work of Christ upon the Cross. This passage calls us to enter boldly into the presence of God because of the blood of Christ which is upon the heavenly mercy seat, especially in our times of need
To neglect the truths of this passage is not a light thing. For Moses, his disobedience cost him the kingdom of God; he was not permitted to enter the promised land, even though he had led the children of Israel through their wilderness experience, and even though God gave him a glimpse of the land’s great abundance. We, too, could miss the present blessing of the Lord through our disobediences. We shall not lose our Eternal state, but our journey through life will be marked with loss and lack, rather than the promised confirmation of blessing that accompanies covenant-keeping.

Oh Lord, teach me to speak to the Rock, and lay before Him all my requests. May my requests be presented with thanksgiving and holy boldness, confident in the work of the Cross, and the goodness of God, Who desires to bless all who are obedient to His glorious Gospel and His Holy Law. Amen!

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