Monday, March 13, 2017

Exodus 17:1-7 Contention From Unsatisfied Needs

KEY TEXT: Exodus 17:6-7 "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." And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?"

KEY THOT: When people's basic needs are unfulfilled, they become contentious and unbelieving. The people of Israel quarreled with Moses because they were thirsty and there was no water to drink. They were even ready to stone Moses. But once the water came out of the rock, they were satisfied and the contention ceased. However, the real needs of every person are much deeper than physical water and food. Every human has a much deep spiritual hunger and thirst that only Christ can satisfy. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:3-4 that the rock from which the water came from was Christ: "all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ." The Israelites in the wilderness ate manna (Exodus 16) and drank from the Rock (Exodus 17), both pictures of Christ that followed them. When they were fed with God's food and filled with God's drink, they were satisfied and the complaining and quarreling stopped.

But what does the water represent? Jesus spoke of "living water" in John 7:37-39, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." In Exodus 16, we read that God provided Israel with manna which is Christ as the Living Bread. Now in Exodus 17, we read that God provided Israel with water which is the Spirit of God. The food and drink that will truly satisfy our inner hunger and thirst are not physical bread and water, but the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Many people seek comfort in physical food and drink and they become angry when they are denied their food and drink, so the saying, "a hungry man is an angry man." But the truth is despite the plentiful food and drink available to us in our society, many are still feeling unsatisfied and angry.

If we find ourselves feeling cranky and cantankerous, perhaps we should stop blaming others (Moses or God) and start taking responsibility for our misconduct. We should be asking ourselves if we have been feeding daily on the bread of life (God's Word) and drinking the water of life (God's Spirit). We feed on God's spiritual food by listening, reading and studying God's Word. And we fill ourselves with God's spiritual drink of His Spirit by prayer and worship. When we do, we experience daily God's presence and peace with us, just as Israel experienced Christ's presence and peace with them as the Rock that followed them wherever they went.

Father, feed us with Your Word and fill us with Your Spirit today, so that we might be satisfied and be at peace with ourselves, others and with You. Amen.

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