The Smitten Rock

Exodus 17:1-7

Describe the scene: Understanding the depravity of our own hearts we are not altogether surprised of the calamity, ingratitude, and insensuality to God’s goodness, faithfulness, and power.

Recall this people’s experiences during the last three months.

The redemption of the firstborn.

The appearance of the pillar of cloud.

The passage through the Red Sea.

The miracle of God’s judgment that destroyed Pharaoh’s army in one night.

The time of praise on the wilderness side of the Red Sea.

The sweetening of the waters of Marah.

The coming of the manna.

The abiding presence of “the cloud.”

Despite all this, they were ready to stone Moses.

God knew that there was no water at Rephidim.

Only the superabounding grace of God can exceed the unbelief and wickedness of the human heart.

This trial came to the children of Israel when they were in the path of divine leading. They were walking in the shadow of the pillar of cloud.

It was the sin of unbelief that caused them to murmur.

Their eye was off Jehovah, their God.

They were in the place of need, the place where faith is tested, where it so often fails. Examples: Abraham, Naomi.

In the valley of the shadow, God had promised to be there, too.

The people strove with Moses, v. 2. See Exodus 14:10-12; 16:3.

They murmured against Moses, v. 3, quote. Against God – Saul.

v. 4 Moses cried unto the Lord, quote.

We should follow the example of Moses, in days of crises, in every emergency we should resort to prayer.

v. 5 God’s answers to Moses’ prayer.

The Miracle—The manna came first, then smiting.

v. 5 “Go before the people”, “take with thee the elders of Israel.”

“Take also the rod wherewith thou smotest the river.”

v. 6 “I will stand before thee upon the rock Horeb.”

“Smite the rock, and there shall come out water that the people may drink.” This must have sounded foolish to the camel ears. “Smiting a rock with a rod.”

Psalm 105:14 says, “He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.”

There was a superabundance for everyone. Liberal’s interpretation.

Moses was to “smite the rock,” with the rod with which he had turned the rivers of Egypt into blood.”

The very rod which had brought judgment to the Egyptians, brought blessing and refreshing to the thirsty of Israel.

The spiritual import of the incident.

1 Corinthians 10:4 “That Rock was Christ.” Notice the order here Ch 16, manna, incarnation, smiting the rock, crucifixion, death.

The rock being smitten is a type of Christ being smitten on the cross for our blessing. It was the people’s sin that led to the smiting of the rock.

The water which flowed from the rock is a type of the Holy Spirit given to us, as the fruit of Christ’s death and completed work. John 4:10, “living water.” The unsmitten rock could not satisfy the need.

The Lord has ascended into heaven and is glorified. John 7:39.

The Spirit has come down as the witness of His exaltation, and of the purging of our sins. Hebrews 10:12-14.

The Spirit dwells in every believer as the Strengthener and Sustainer of their spiritual being. Some say this is not so.

Of Israel we read, “They did all drink the same spiritual drink.” 1 Corinthians 10:4

Of believers now they have been “all made to drink of one Spirit.” I Corinthians 10:4 R.V.

This indwelling spirit is the birthright and heritage of every child of God.

John 1:12 “As many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the children of God.”

Galatians 4:6 “Because ye are sons, God has sent forth His Spirit into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.” See also Romans 8:9

There is one thing here of which we should all be aware.

The difference between having “received the spirit” and “being filled with the Spirit.” Sealed for salvation, filled for service.

It is the Spirit’s entrance that gives us life in Christ, there is no other life. Every believer has this life.

The difference is in the development of this life.

There are some believers, who because of worldliness and false teaching are retrograding. Corinthians, Galatians.

Others are “growing exceedingly” and abounding in the graces of the Spirit. The Thessalonians.

We read of men like Barnabas and Stephen who were “full of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 7.

Even the weak, carnal, and unspiritual babes, who were envying and striving with each other (Corinth) are addressed as “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints.” These bodies are called the temple of the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 6:13. They had the same life as those who were filled.

It is not a question then of some having the Spirit and some not having, it is a question of growth.

We all know the difference between the tiny brook and the mighty river, the water is the same in both.

May each of us aspire to be filled with the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit.

Those who have this blessed experience will have the least to say about it.

Like Moses when he descended from the mount with the skin of his face shining, it will be manifest to all.

The weary souls we come in contact with, as we pass along the desert, will get the benefit of it.

As we drink deep at the fountain ourselves, the “living waters” will flow out of us in rivers. See John 7:37-38.

May the Lord give us the desire to experience the quickening and life-giving powers of the Spirit of God.

To experience this we need to give heed to the weighty admonitions

“Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” Ephesians 4:30.

“Quench not the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Unfortunately we often do this and this is the cause of our spiritual weakness and barrenness.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control.” Galatians 6:22-23.

The Christian is instructed to:

Live in the Spirit Galatians 5:25

Walk in the Spirit Galatians 5:16

Led by the Spirit Romans 8:14

Pray in the Spirit Ephesians 6:18, Jude 20

Filled with the Spirit Ephesians 5:18

If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His, Romans 8:9.

The sin of Moses in smiting the rock. Numbers 20:7-13.

v. 8 Take “the rod,” Aaron’s rod, and “speak to the rock.”

Exodus 17 The smitten rock typified the crucified Christ.

Numbers 20 The rock typifies the exalted Christ.

There are two Hebrew words used to describe these rocks.

In Exodus 17, the word used means an ordinary rock, speaking of Christ’s humiliation.

In Numbers 20, the word used describes an elevated rock, speaking of Christ’s exaltation.

In Numbers 20 Moses was told “to speak” to the rock.

Moses made a grave mistake, he smote the rock.

In figure he smote the exalted Christ.

How did this fatal mistake come about?

The meekest man in all the earth became angry.

He addressed the people of God as rebels, v. 10.

“Must we fetch you water out of this rock?”

v. 11 Moses lifted up his hand and smote the rock, twice.

For this sin neither Moses nor Aaron were allowed into the Promised Land.

Despite man’s disobedience and failure, God graciously sent forth the water.