February 2 – Today’s Readings – Exodus 16-18 and Psalms 32
As I examined these chapters, I couldn’t help but seeing more parallels between the Old Testament nation of Israel and the Church of the twenty-first century. Here was Israel, in the desert, having just been saved from the Egyptian army. The music from the “deliverance party” on the shores of the Red Sea had hardly settled down – and they found out that a whole new enemy was out to get them – death by dehydration or starvation.
As part of a medical treatment, I was once placed on a very restrictive fluid intake diet. I can tell you from experience that unless you have faced severe, prolonged thirst, you shouldn’t be too hard on these Israelites. Dying of thirst would not be a pleasant way to go. After having heard their children crying themsleves to sleep because of thirst, these guys were desperate. It wouldn’t be long before Moses and Aaron would be fed to the desert jackals for leading them all out there. Something had to be done quickly or the entire nation would perish. “The Rock” was the solution and Moses did something completely preposterous – he struck the rock at Horeb and miraculously, water gushed out.
Now, at risk of minimizing the trial that Israel was facing, let me take you to a couple of New Testament verses:
1 Corinthians 10:3-4 reads; “They [the Israelites] all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” Paul the Apostle is referring to today’s old testament passage as he writes to the Corinthians. How is it that he says Jesus was “The Rock” that Israel drank from?
John 6:31-35 reads; “Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert;”…”I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.” …“Sir’, they said, ‘from now on give us this bread.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Israel needed to learn a lesson quickly if they were to survive this new life of faith. They needed to learn that Jesus was their provider. All the grumbling in the world couldn’t help them – only learning the lesson about where the bread and water of life truly came from. We too need to understand that all provision – spiritual – emotional – physical comes from asking Jesus to be Lord of our lives. Worship and thankfulness are the answers to the provision of God – not grumbling!
1. After our personal “Deliverance from Egypt” what is going to keep us from dying of thirst in the wilderness?
2. When we are facing some hardship as children of God, what will keep us from grumbling as the Israelites did?