by Ivor Powell

Moses...and the Smitten Rock
Ivor Powell
Exodus 17:6; Numbers 21:11; 1 Corinthians 10:4

This exciting episode from the wilderness experiences of Israel is one of the most informative parts of the Scriptures. It tells of God's remarkable intervention on behalf of His people, and spans centuries of time to fascinate the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul did not hesitate to explain; that Rock was Christ.

"And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin . . . and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people" (Exod. 17:1). Moses was frustrated and annoyed. The people had been brought from Egypt, but they continued to criticize their leader. The boys and girls were asking for water, the lowing of the cattle announced their thirst, and the parched throats of men and women filled the nation with apprehension. The small bushes in the wilderness appeared to be dying; they were covered with sandy dust disturbed by many feet. The sky was as brass, and the hot winds of the desert destroyed every vestige of comfort. The tribes were extremely critical and asked, "Is the Lord among us, or not?" (Exod. 17:7). What had formerly been spoken in whispers was now being expressed openly. Moses was troubled, and "cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel" (Exod. 17:4-6). It was an astonishing sight when, from the heart of a rock, gushed a stream of water sufficient to satisfy all the needs of Israel. Yet unbelievers in every age ridiculed this account. Major C. S. Jarvis, who was British Govern ...

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