DEVOTIONAL: Speak To The Rock
February 12, 2001

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1 Corinthians 10:4

"And they did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."

Numbers 20:7-13

"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them."

Zechariah 13:7

"Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones."

I wonder if any of you have done as I have done and have wondered why the LORD was so hard with Moses ? I mean, seriously, the scripture says that Moses was faithful in all God's house and that he was the most humble man on Earth. Yet, with this one mistake, he was denied entry into the land that he had wandered forty years to enter.

I was led of the Lord to consider these three scriptures together today and they help me to understand why this offense was so serious. You see, the scripture reveals that the rock, which was struck by Moses, was Christ. Moses, in anger, chose to strike that Rock. He struck Christ! Now, I ask you, who was Moses angry with? The people, or with God? Moses was angry with God. The reason the offense was so serious is that Moses knew that he was striking Christ, or the spiritual symbol of Christ.

Previously, Moses had been commanded by God to strke the Rock (Exodus 17:6). He obeyed, as He had done when he had struck the river with his rod. Both times previous, he had struck the rock and had obeyed God. This time was different.

Truly, the scripture records that the day would come when the rock, Christ was to be struck. On that day, the sheep would be scattered. But He can only be struck by His own permission. And He could only be struck once. The second time, He was to come as a lion, not as a stricken lamb. The Father must give the Son. The Son must yield to the striking. No one can take the Son's life away, but he will lay it down of his own accord. And so, the Rock may only be struck with permission, and then, struck only once.

Moses strikes not once but twice. Had not God told Moses to instruct the people to gather twice as much food on the day of preparation prior to the Sabbath day? We today know that Jesus Christ is our Sabbath rest...our Sabbath day. Again, Moses displays before God, the anger that Moses had for God, in a way the people could not detect. The people would interpret that Moses was angry with them by the actions of Moses, yet God sees the heart.

And then we have the matter of God's insistence on being sanctified, or set apart. Is it not indeed chilling to note that not even Moses could escape unscathed from this infraction. Moses failed to set apart that Rock and God's instruction's concerning it as holy and inviolable. The scripture ends with the postscript that by taking action against Moses, God has sanctified himself before the people. God has done what Moses failed to do. Apparently, God had to do this, at any cost. God had to be set apart and sanctified and treated in a holy way under that covenant and that time, or He himself would sanctify himself, for He is Holy.

Yes, our God is a consuming fire, and it is too much for me...I am undone. For as Isaiah, I am a man on unclean lips among a people of great uncleanness. Like Moses, I am flawed and prone to anger and error. I have even been angry with God. The only difference is that my errors lie beyond the great atonement. I look back upon the atonement and upon the mediator of it. Moses looked forward to it and knew only the Great and Terrible God of Sinai. Job looked for a mediator too. You and I have one.

As I lift Holy hands in prayer tonight, and boldly go before the throne of grace, I remember with reverence the Holy God who lies behind, who still stands behind my mediator Jesus. He is still a consumming fire. He must still be sanctified in the eyes of His people, lest He sanctify himself in their eyes. This causes me to be all the more thankful for what Jesus, my Lord and saviour has accomplished for me.

I have struck the rock, yes even twice. Yet I still live and serve my Lord as a forgiven man, walking in the grace that was purchased for me by the blood of the risen Lord. Thank you Jesus for your work as mediator between me and the Father. Thank you Lord that I may approach boldly, without fear. And yet, I remember....and I tremble, just a bit, in reverence before the God of heaven and earth. That is as it should be!

Stephen L. Bening
a servant and prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ

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