Water from a Rock

Wow!  That gives new meaning to “water from a rock,” doesn’t it! That is recent video from a flash flood in the Israeli desert, near the Dead Sea.  But I believe there is a Biblical principle to be gleaned from that incredible sight.  Let’s start with this passage from Exodus 17:3-6:

But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile,and go. 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.

As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they complained.  This passage describes a time they grumbled for lack of water, and the Lord commanded Moses to strike a rock with his staff.  Water came out and the people drank.  1 Corinthians 10:4 tells us the people drank “spiritual drink,” and the Rock was Christ!

Interestingly, while in the wilderness, the people also ate manna, which was also a picture of Christ, the Bread of Life.  In fact, Jesus identifies Himself as both the Bread of Life and the One who takes away our thirst in John 6:35!

Later, despite God’s provision, the children of Israel found themselves complaining once again of lack of water, and God gave Moses different instructions in Numbers 20:8: speak to the rock.  You see, the Rock had already been smitten and, according to God’s instruction, Moses needed only to speak to the rock. 

Now, consider the lesson for us.  Jesus Christ, our Rock, was smitten almost 2,000 years ago.  Crucified, He became our Rock of Salvation.  Today, we simply need to speak to Him, as He need not be crucified again.  God is satisfied with what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Just as the Israelites partook of spiritual drink, so we reap spiritual blessings through Jesus our Rock.  Those spiritual blessings gush from the Rock:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
~Ephesians 1:3

Today, as you see water seemingly gush from this rock in Israel, just know that from our Rock, Jesus Christ, flows an abundant fountain of blessing.  Perhaps your tongue is parched and you thirst for a spiritual drink. Do you have doubts?  Are you lonely?  Is sin robbing you of joy? 

Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
~Isaiah 55:1

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
~Revelation 22:17

Jesus our Rock invites us to come and drink freely.  But here is my favorite part:

Jesus stood up and cried out, “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.’”
~John 7:37-38

Ahhhh….let’s drink deeply, so that fountain of living water will flow out of us!  In fact, if you know of someone who is thirsty, please share this encouragement with them!

A Deeper Look at Psalm 122: Verses 2-3

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A song of ascent, Psalm 122 was recited (or sung) by the Jewish people as they made the trek to Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts.  They were anxious to go “up to Jerusalem” for those special times of fellowship with God.

We’re studying Psalm 122 this week and focus on verses 2-3 today:

Our feet are standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, that is built
As a city that is compact together

“…a city that is compact together” is an interesting phrase, translated many different ways: “joined together,” “bound together,” “knitted together,” “compact together,” and “solidly joined.” But a literal translation is: “joined to itself together.”  The Hebrew word “חֻבְּרָה” appears only once in the entire Bible – here.

It is a word that means “friend,” and has the connotation of joining together.  Just as Exodus 26:11 indicates the curtains in the tabernacle were joined together as a single unit, so Jerusalem is joined together.  Not to something else, but to itself!

If Jerusalem is joined or compacted together, there must be two parts! Jerusalem must have a “friend” or “companion!”  Might that companion be another Jerusalem in heaven?

There is basis for that in the Hebrew language.  Transliterated, YerushalAYIM = Jerusalem.  Notice the suffix “AYIM.”  It is plural!  There is a Jerusalem here on earth, but also a new Jerusalem to come (Revelation 21:2).  Two Jerusalems…”friends/companions!”

But here is another interesting tidbit regarding the joining together of Jerusalem to itself.  The UN designated Jerusalem an international city in 1947.  Yet, the war of 1948 resulted in Jordan taking control of East Jerusalem, leaving only West Jerusalem to the Jews.  In 1967, however, Jerusalem was reunited when Israel won the Six Day War!  Once again joining Jerusalem to itself!

Today, the battle continues to rage over Jerusalem.  There is a constant “tearing” of the city, yet it is God’s Holy City and will ultimately not only be joined to itself on earth, but will be joined together spiritually with the new Jerusalem!

Pray for that city, dear friends!

See you tomorrow when we look at the next portion of Psalm 122!

The Second Great Covenant: Mosaic Covenant

Image result for why israel matters

Welcome back, study friends!  We’re digging into three great covenants that all must function together, lest they lose their power!  Scripture reveals several more covenants, but we are focusing on:

  • Abrahamic Covenant
  • Mosaic Covenant
  • New Covenant

Each is backed by the character of God, and cannot accomplish God’s purpose if left to stand alone.  Therefore, the three work in conjunction with one another.

Yesterday, we examined the Abrahamic Covenant, identifying it as the covenant of DECISION.  God (not Abraham) decided the parameters of the Abrahamic Covenant and, more importantly, He decided to preach the gospel to Abraham in order for his descendants to become the vehicle of world redemption!

Thus, we see the importance of the Abrahamic Covenant…yet it isn’t enough!  God decided to provide salvation, but the world doesn’t recognize the need!  Therefore, we need instruction and ability.

The Mosaic Covenant is the covenant of INSTRUCTION.  God tells the Israelites, in Exodus 19:5-6, they must obey His voice and keep His covenant.  He laid a foundation of law and gave the Jewish people 613 specific laws to follow.

Why?  He knew they would not be able to fulfill the law.  Is this some sort of evil trick?

Of course not!  He gave the law via the Mosaic Covenant to reveal the need for the Abrahamic Covenant!  We’ll hang out in Galatians 3 today, so I encourage you to open your Bible there.  First, notice verses 19, 21 and 24, where we learn:

  • Law was added because of transgressions.
  • If the law could impart life, righteousness would be based on law.
  • Law is a tutor that leads us to Christ!

By itself, the Mosaic Covenant doesn’t do the trick.  It can INSTRUCT us about sin, but it can’t save us!  However, let’s couple it with the Abrahamic Covenant.  Again, in Galatians 3, we learn:

  • Verse 8: All nations are blessed through Abraham
  • Verse 11: Law will not save us
  • Verse 19: Law was given to show us our need
  • Verse 24: Law is a tutor
  • Verse 26: We are children of God by faith
  • Verse 19: It is the Abrahamic Covenant (not the Mosaic Covenant) that makes us God’s children!

Thus, you see, the Mosaic Covenant is vital to helping us understand the need for the Abrahamic Covenant!  But, God’s DECISION and INSTRUCTION are still not enough!  We need the third leg of the stool: ABILITY.

That is the New Covenant, and we’ll take a look at it tomorrow.  This is great stuff, so I hope you’ll stick with us.  The study gets better and better from here!  See you tomorrow.

Israel at 70: A View from the Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and a Jewish Author

Image result for isaiah 35 1-2

At the ICEJ/ACLI Conference in Washington DC, we were privileged to hear from Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy, Yaron Gamburg, gave an exciting speech about the history of Israel.  In regard to Israel today, he mentioned three key things of which everyone should know:

  • Land – As we know, God’s covenant with Abraham promised Israel a land.  (See Genesis 12 and 15, as well as other references.)  When God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt, He referenced a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3, Ezekiel 20).  Yet, when Israel was reborn in 1948, Israel was far from a land flowing with milk and honey.  Yet, Isaiah 35:1-2 tells us that the desert will blossom.  That is happening!  You see, the land blossoms only when Jews are in it!  God keeps His promises to His people.
  • People – God’s covenant with Abraham also involved people.  Abraham would be the father of the Jewish people.  Since Israel’s rebirth, 3.5 million Jews have made aliyah (return to the homeland)!  Israel has now overtaken the United States as the most Jewish-populated country in the world…as they should be!  God is bringing His people back to their land, just as He promised.
  • Purpose – The Jewish people have a purpose: to make the world a better place.  Avi Jorisch, author of Thou Shalt Innovate, also spoke at the conference, concurring that tikkun olam (making the world a better place) is part of the Jewish DNA.  It is ingrained.  Ganburg referred to the Jews as “lights unto the world,” and strive to leave a positive impact.

Jorisch spent considerable time describing innovation in Israel, including all the ways in which inventions are helping people all around the world.  We previewed CBN’s latest release entitled, To Life, which documents the worldwide relief work done by Israelis.

It is so important that we share the truth about Israel.  Here’s a great way to learn (then tell) about Israel’s efforts to be “lights unto the world.”  To see To Life for free, click the link.  Check it out, then spread the word!