Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Waters of Meribah by John.

The Waters of Meribah.
I Corinthians 10: 1-13.

1. V 4 says "that rock was Christ."
(1) Both Jesus and our Heavenly Father are called "Rock" in other places in the Bible.
(2) We are going to look at two OT Scriptures that Paul refers to here.
2. We talked about baptism last week. In v. 2, baptism is used again without referring to immersion in water. It refers to immersion in the cloud that led the Israelites by day, and to the water that walled up on both sides as they passed through the Red Sea on dry land.
(1) It is interests me to note, that baptism in the Red Sea saved Israel, and that same baptism destroyed Egypt when they tried to use it!
(2) That should serve as a warning to anyone who tries to duplicate the works of God without Him!
3. Today, I want us to see that any kind of disobedience to the Lord is a serious thing, and it is inexcusable on our part because God always gives us a way out. I Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
(1) Obedience pleases God and is cause for blessing.
(2) Disobedience displeases God and is the cause of death for many including most of the Israelites who were set free in Egypt.
4. In vv. 1-4, Paul stressed the word "all." All of the Hebrews had the same opportunity to be blessed.
(1) Only a few took advantage of it. They were blessed by their obedience.
(2) Those who did not take advantage of the opportunity they had, died in the wilderness.
(3) Note they did not fail just once; they failed again and again!
5. If we stopped here, we've already had a strong message from God about our need for obedience, but let's go further.
6. Exodus 17 :1ff tells us about Moses getting water from the rock. Let's go there. (read).

I. The Israelite's Doubted God, but They Confronted Moses.

1. The Lord promised to be with them. They needed water to drink, and there was none.
2. Their natural minds went one step farther. They concluded that God was not with them like He promised He would be!
3. I add this observation: We often think God is not with us when bad things happen, but this Scripture tells us God always keeps His promises!
4. They confronted Moses and Aaron instead of taking their problem to the Lord!
(1) V 3. "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?"
(2) V 4 tells us they were almost ready to stone Moses! (I suppose they knew they could not stone God!)
5. Moses did the right thing. He took the problem to God.
6. God gave Moses careful instructions:
1) Take your staff and Aaron.
2) Lead the people to the rock.
3) Use the staff with which you struck the Nile, and strike the rock.
a. That referred to Exodus 7, and the first plague God brought on both the Egyptians and the Hebrews.
b. It's important to see that the same staff that brought pain and discomfort to the Egyptians is now used to slake the thirst of the Israelites!
4) God's promise? Water will flow from the rock.
7. Everything worked as God said it would, but something was wrong here.
8. God usually tests people so that they will see how much or how little faith they have. Here, the people reversed the situation! They tested God!
9. Now let's read Numbers 20:1:13. It's a different account of getting water from a rock.

II. As before, the Israelites Confronted Moses.

1. Some scholars think this is a second account of the same event, but it isn't.
2. Miriam was not dead when Moses struck the rock in Exodus.
(1) She is mentioned in the next chapter after that event in Exodus, and about seven times before this event in Exodus.
(2) There are other proofs, but let's pass them up for now.
3. The difference that strikes me here is in Moses.
4. Moses was his usual self in Exodus, the meekest man on earth. Here he does not seem meek, and God gives the reason for that.
(1) He followed God's directive when he went to the rock. (v 10)
(2) Then he made a little speech, "Listen, you rebels, must we (or can we) bring you water out of this rock?" Both translations are permissible.
(3) Then he struck the rock. (God did not tell him to strike the rock! He told him to speak to it.)
(4) When nothing happened, he struck the rock again. (That's a physical sign that he doubted that God was doing what He told him He would do.)
5. God honored His servant by having the water gush from the rock! (He did it even though His Moses was disobedient! God always keeps His Word.)
6. God sees beneath the face we show the world, and God knew the doubt in Moses' mind.
7. In v 12, He said, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."
8. Disobedience is sin, and sin results in loss. Confession and rededication restores us to blessing.
9. There are a number of differences in the two accounts, but both carry the same prophetic picture of the coming of Jesus and His death for us.

III. Both of these Old Testament Scriptures are prophetic.

1. They give a true picture of God as being God of everything that is. He created and sustains everything!
2. The Rock certainly represents Jesus, and Moses,
striking the rock with his staff in Exodus certainly indicated Jesus would die to give life to God's sinful people.
3. Moses struck the rock in Numbers. We can only surmise what the picture would have show if he had not. Perhaps it would have shown the people that Jesus is eternal. Death has, and cannot have, any power over Him! He laid down His life willingly, and He took it up again.
4. In Exodus, Moses struck the rock and plenty of water came out, but in Numbers it gushed out!
5. Moses called the place Massa and Meribah.
(1) Massa can mean "holy," and Meribah means "contention."
(2) Together they would read, "holy contention."
6. That's what has gone on between God and man ever since that time.
7. Jesus came to earth to give us the water of life and the ability to trust God for everything!


1. In I Corinthians 10:1-13, Paul uses the Old Testament to tell us that the Spiritual Rock from which all of us must drink is Jesus.
2. All of us, before we meet Jesus, are disobedient, but that does not change the fact that God expects us to obey Him. These things happened to warn us disobedience is destructive in our relation with God.
3. II Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
(1) God loves us, and He does not want a single one of us to perish and spend eternity in hell!
(2) He wants all of us to be saved and spend eternity in heaven with Him!
4. Paul is telling us that God has provided a way to escape temptation so that we might escape its power, and the destructive nature of sin.
6. The problem is, we all still sin!
7. Only with Jesus can we stand before God!
9. Have you given yourself to Him? You can while we pray!

Emmanuel Community Church 7/16/2006


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