Speak to the Rock
““Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.”” (Numbers 20:8, NASB95)
If you are familiar with this Scripture, you know that Moses was disobedient and struck the rock rather than speaking to the rock. For this sin, Moses was banished from the Promised Land. For most of us, this seems like a drastic punishment for small infraction. After all, Moses had previously been instructed to strike the rock, which he did. In the end, water gushed forth each time and the people were cared for. Why such punishment for striking instead of speaking?
I would propose it is because of the meaning behind the rock. In the Old Testament, especially in the wilderness, there is a large amount of “typology” used by God. That is, many of the scenes in the Exodus and wilderness experience are foreshadowing something yet to come. In 1 Corinthians 10:4 we are told that this rock in the wilderness represents Christ, the Rock of salvation from which Living Water comes forth. This insight helps us to understand the greatness of the sin of Moses. The first time, the Rock (Christ) was to be struck. The word for strike is the same word used when Cain kills Able—it is a violent act that leads to death. After Christ is struck (killed) once, however, He is never to be sacrificed again! His once-for-all sacrifice being given, now one simply needs to speak to the Rock, and Living Water comes forth!
In His Grace;
Dr. Randy White
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