1 Corinthians 10:1-5 – “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the (Red) sea; and all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness”.
Here one sees that Christ was the rock in the desert that the Israelites drank from. It is essential to briefly look at the Old Testament Scriptures, which state the drinking from the rock, so we can understand the spiritual significance. It is critical and invaluable to see why God was not pleased with most of them.
REMEMBER: As you read, the rock spiritually symbolizes Christ.
There were two incidents in the exodus journey when God told Moses to draw water from the rock. The first time occurred immediately upon the completion of the passage through the Red Sea. Exodus 17:1-7 – “…and pitched in Rephidim; and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? Wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?
“And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? … And the Lord said unto Moses,…. Behold, I will stand before thee 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.
This event correlates with the believer’s initial moment of salvation. As the Israelites were baptized into Moses in the Red Sea, so is the believer baptized into Christ in His death on Calvary (Romans 6:2-5). This is the passage into a new life.
God instructed Moses to strike the rock.Striking the rock represents the Crucified Christ, who was bruised for our iniquities from the physical abuse of the Roman guards and the verbal and physical abuse of the religious leaders of Israel. Spiritually, all our sins bruised and crucified Him.
The second time this event repeated 38 years later in the desert of Zin. Numbers 20:2-13 – “And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? …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 to drink….
Moses lifted up his hand, and with his handHE SMOTE THE ROCK TWICE: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also….”
It was near the end of the 40 years. This time God instructed Moses to speak to the rock. Yet, Moses did not speak, but struck the rock twice. God did not instruct him to strike it, but to speak to it. The spiritual significance is ‘to speak to the rock’. Jesus (the rock) is the Living Word of God. When a believer speaks the word, rivers of living water will naturally flow from the heart. John 7:37-38 – “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him com unto me, and drink. He that believeth on Me. As the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”.
The speaking to the rock represents the Resurrected Christ. Moses did not see nor believe this. He struck the rock, still seeing it as the crucified Christ. In other words, he left Christ on the cross. As a result, his unbelief in the Resurrected Christ kept him from entering Canaan, the true rest in the love of God. Water did come out abundantly when he struck the rock twice.
However, it was only sustaining water, not satisfying. Why? Because they were still living in the wilderness. Water in the wilderness only sustains the carnal Christian to hang in there, to give his best of self-effort for Jesus. Water in the land (Canaan) totally satisfies the Christian who has entered because he enters into the rest and love of Christ. He rests from all His self-effort. His rest now becomes the activity of Christ through him. It is an active rest in His activity, far from a passive rest.
Christ in not on the cross today. He is risen, resurrected, and residing in all believers. By speaking the word, Christ will live the Christian life through the believer; because only Christ can live the Christian life. It is not difficult to grasp this invaluable, spiritual truth.
Viewing this from Moses’ approach, he only lived ½ a gospel by leaving Christ on the cross. He had the faith to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt; but not the faith to lead them into Canaan. The sad point is it is the same faith. No job is ever too big for God.
By living only ½ a gospel, Moses did only ½ a job. That was Moses’ error. However, the full, true gospel is the finished work of the death AND resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Moses died at a young age (Deuteronomy 34:7 – “… he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated”). What a sad end to a young life! Moses died young and was buried in the desert, on the wrong side of Jordan. He missed the full love and joy of resting in God.
How about you, brethren? Are you only living ½ a gospel?
By striking the rock, Moses struggled through his own self-effort to produce the resurrected Christian life. Moses here represents the carnal Christian, the redeemed Christian who, unfortunately, does his best for God through his own self-effort. Like the children of Israel living in the wilderness, the carnal Christian only walks in circles with his only mindset being the crucified Christ. He always ‘confesses and repents’ the same sin(s) – even if they are only thoughts. He answers every altar call laying the sins on the altar (the crucified Christ), but has absolutely no strength to overcome these same sins. There is no resurrection power of Christ flowing from him, no evidence of the indwelling Christ. He lives only ½ a gospel – the crucified Christ.
The only result is life in the wilderness – dumped in the desert. How exciting! (Forgive my sarcasm.) What a very sad place to live! I confidently say this from my own personal experience of life in the wilderness. The wilderness is the only place for the carnal Christian to live – dumped in the desert. He will die there also, just like Moses, unless he permits the Holy Spirit to show him and teach him the full gospel – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then he will truly enter the land and rest in the love and grace of God. This is ordained by God to be the normal Christian life, as God created man to live.