It would be quite a scene to see a judge take the place of a guilty party in a courtroom, yet this is what we see in Exodus 17:1-7. The people of God now camp at Rephidim at the Lord’s command. He is the One who has led them there, and the people have already seen the Lord provide for their needs in miraculous ways. In Exodus 15, in spite of the grumbling of the people, He made the bitter water sweet for them so that they could drink it. In Exodus 16, also in spite of the grumbling of the people, He gave them bread from heaven so that they might be nourished and have something to eat. Now, in Exodus 17 they come to a desert land in which there is no water, but instead of trusting the Lord to provide for them again, they grumble against Him.
We ought to make no mistake–to grumble against the Lord’s plans is to rebel against God Himself. The people were in essence seeking to be the judge of God’s character and accusing not only Moses, but the Lord of injustice. This was a serious thing. Yet, once again, the Lord shows grace and mercy to His grumbling people. He tells Moses to take the staff and go before the people. This staff is the staff that was used in judgment against the Egyptians as the Lord sent plagues upon them and ultimately defeated them at the Red Sea. This is a staff that represents judgment.
We might expect that the Lord would use this staff against His people for their grumbling, but that is not what the Lord does. Instead, He tells Moses, “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” Not only will the Lord provide for the needs of His people again, but the rock will be stricken instead of them. Paul elaborates on this in 1 Corinthians 10:4 when he says, “and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” The striking of the rock in the wilderness points us to our Savior who would be the Rock stricken in the place of His people, dying as a substitute for them. In Him, His people receive living water. Join us for worship this Lord’s Day at The Commons at St. Andrews Church in Little Rock as we consider these truths together. For directions, click here, or contact us for more information. You can also watch on FacebookLive@RiverCityARP or on YouTube.