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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Eighty-Fourth (A Rock)

Did you have a good week? I hope so! Time for another relaxing weekend. This week we're going to talk about rocks! I talked about a certain rock previously, but there's a lot of references to rocks in scripture, and we're going to take a look at some key points out of all these references. While some of the most interesting ones, in my opinion, are in the New Testament, we're going to start back in the old.

Let's look at the very first occurrence of the word "rock" in scripture, because we know first occurrences can have very significant meaning for interpreting follow on occurrences. What we find is the Israelites in the wilderness being led by Moses. Much like other times while the Israelites were in the wilderness, they were complaining at this point, and it was due to not having water to drink.

Moses went to Yehovah about the complaining. He told Moses to take the same staff he used to part the sea during their exodus from Egypt and strike the rock in Horeb and water would come out of it (Exodus 17:4-5). This is certainly a very meaningful occurrence, and we'll see why in a minute!

First, I want to jump ahead to another rock with water coming out. Again, the Israelites are complaining, and again it's about not having water to drink while they're in the wilderness. Now, you might be thinking, why didn't Moses learn his lesson from the first time and preempt the complaining by asking God for water earlier! Don't ask me, because I don't know. But I do know at first glance this event reads a LOT like the first one, and it may make you think it's just a recounting of the original.

In this event, both Moses and Aaron, went to Yehovah about the complaining. This time, God told them again to bring the staff, and to speak to the rock and it would produce water (Numbers 20:8). Notice the key difference? They were not to strike it, but only to speak to it. Now, it may be possible that Moses was remembering the previous "rock water" event and struck the rock this time because of it, rather than just speaking to it, but based on what he said to the group of Israelites I doubt this was the case (Numbers 20:10). Also, this "rock water" event was a full year after the first (Exodus 40:17, Numbers 1:1), and the whole time they were all in the wilderness, so that and what Moses said indicates he was a bit frustrated with the group and he let that get the better of him!

Well, that certainly cost Moses. God gave him specific instruction and He failed to follow it. As a result, Moses and Aaron were stripped of the privilege of bringing the Israelites into the promised land. Is this a lesson in obedience? Of course, and that's where a lot of people have the tendency to go. But it's also a lesson in something bigger.

The question you have to ask is why the difference in direction from Yehovah between the two events we looked at. The situations are exactly the same except for 1) the location and 2) speaking to the rock vice striking it. We know the reason for difference #1: the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness trying to get to their destination. For the second difference, we need to skip waaaaay ahead.

Jumping forward, we see that Jesus told us He was the Rock (Matthew 16:16-18). He said He would build His ekklesia, His congregation, His assembly, His group of set apart individuals, on the Rock of Him. But even more than that, He provided a parable to illustrate the importance of His foundation.

When we read His words and do them, we build our house on a rock. But if we read them and don't do them we build our house on the sand so when the waters come and wind blows our house will fall (Matthew 7:24-27, Luke 6:47-49). But let's look at this rock reference in context. Jesus provides this parable directly after talking about how not everyone that calls Him Lord will enter His kingdom, despite claiming to prophesy or cast out demons in His name. He will say He never knew them and send them away (Matthew 7:21-23).

Jesus was talking specifically about false prophets just before this (Matthew 7:15-20), but this statement expands to include all those who do things in His name without truly being in Him, meaning His ekklesia. But let's also not forget about another rock Jesus spoke of, also in a parable. In this parable, He speaks of sowing seeds and some seeds falling on the rock (Luke 8:5-8). Notice these seeds withered away because they did not have moisture.

In the Greek, the word for "having" in verse 6 of Luke 8 is echein, which can also be used to say "hold," or "possess." Moisture is water, and Jesus told us He has living water (John 7:37-39). So in other words, these seeds withered away, despite being on the Rock, which is Him, because they did not possess the living water from Him. These seeds are those which claim to be His, but are not in His ekklesia. They wither away and do not bring forth good fruit for Jesus.

But before I close, let's finish with the bigger lesson from Yehovah about getting water from the rock, and why He gave two different directions to Moses. We're still in the New Testament and we're putting together that Jesus is the Rock, but do you remember an event with Him and water? When He was crucified, the soldiers went to break His legs, as they normally did to expedite the death since the individual being crucified couldn't lift themselves up to breathe any longer. However, when they came to Him they saw He was already dead, and just to make sure, they pierced His side. What came forth? Blood and WATER! The first rock, at Horeb, Moses was told to strike because this was a representation of Jesus being pierced and water coming from Him. The second rock, Moses and Aaron were told to speak to because whoever comes to Him, repents, and asks will be given His living water!

Isn't it just amazing how all these things are tied together throughout scripture? Our God is an awesome God! I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a great week!

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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