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presents "Light from the Old Testament"
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Lesson 5 (Part 2)
The people journeyed on and came to Rephidim. There was no water for the people to drink. Again they complained against Moses. Moses said to the Lord, "What shall I do unto this people? They are almost ready to stone me."
God told Moses to take his staff, take the elders with him and go to the rock in Horeb. He was to strike the rock with his staff and water would come out of it. Moses did as the Lord had commanded and abundant water flowed out of the rock.
This was not a temporary relief. 1 Corinthians 10:4 says that this "rock" followed the children of Israel in their journeying in the wilderness:
"For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ."
The rock is a type of Christ, who was "struck" on the cross for us. As a result of Christ's death, the Holy Spirit, "the water of life," was poured out for us.
Many years later, the children of Israel were still wandering in the wilderness. In the account in Number chapter 20 the rock had ceased to give water. One possible reason for this was that the children of Israel, at this time, were in open rebellion against Moses and Aaron.
This time, the Lord told Moses to "speak to the rock." He was not told to strike the rock. Moses and Aaron were angry with the people because of their murmuring. Moses said, "Hear now, you rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?" (Numbers 20:10)
Moses then struck the rock twice with his rod, and water came forth abundantly. There was water for all the people and their cattle. But God was displeased with Moses and Aaron.
Why was God displeased with them? Because they had disobeyed His word. God told them to speak to the rock, not to strike it. Because of their disobedience, Moses and Aaron were not permitted to enter the promised land.
By striking the rock, Moses and Aaron "destroyed" a type of Christ. Christ, as typified by the rock, was "struck" once when He died on the cross. His death was the perfect and complete sacrifice for sin, and it need never be repeated.
One religion teaches that each time the priest does certain things, Christ is offered on the cross again for our sins. This is contrary to what the Bible teaches. God's Word says,
"But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God." Hebrews 10:12
Again, the Bible says,
"Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Hebrews 9:28
God's great thought in taking the children of Israel out of Egypt was that He might have them for Himself. God wanted to dwell among His people and be their God.
The first part of the book of Exodus is all about God and what He does for His people. The second part of the book, beginning with chapter 19, is about what God's people are to be for Him in loving obedience.
God now proposes to make a covenant with His people. What is a covenant? A covenant is a binding, legal agreement between two or more parties. The Bible speaks especially of two covenants—the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant is called the Mosaic Covenant because God gave this covenant to Israel through Moses. Moses is called "the mediator" of the Old Covenant because he was God's representative to the people of Israel.
On Mount Sinai God gave Moses two tablets of stone on which He had written the Ten Commandments. He also gave Moses special laws and ordinances which were to govern the social and religious life of the people of Israel.
The special laws and ordinances were for Israel alone, but the Ten Commandments, often referred to in the Bible as "the law," are God's moral laws for all people.
God's law is the expression of His will. It shows us what is right and what is wrong in His sight.
All those who love God want to keep His commandments, but we are not saved by keeping the law. There is but one way of salvation and that is by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
"For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
Old Testament believers were saved by looking forward by faith to the coming Savior. We are saved by looking back by faith to Christ's death on the cross.
God is, first of all, a Savior-God, who loved us and gave His own Son to die on the cross for us. God is for His people. He is for us now and He will be for us during all of our life and throughout eternity.
When our soul is fully established and settled in what God has done for us in His grace, then we can take up the consideration of what we can be, in loving obedience and service, for God's pleasure. It would be sad to think that we are to have everything from God and God to have nothing from us. The Bible says,
"For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them." Ephesians 2:10 (NET Bible)