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!

Why DOES Israel Matter?

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Pull up a chair and hang out for a bit.  This week we are concluding our study, Why Israel Matters and we have covered lots of ground.  So, we’re pulling it all together this week.

Early in the study we discussed some reasons Israel matters.  Do you remember some of those reasons?  Let’s jog the memory.  Israel matters in many ways, including:

  • Socially.  The desire of Israelis to make the world a better place (tikkun olam) is demonstrated in the way they treat other nations.  Often first on scene for natural disasters around the world, a leader in helping third world nations provide food and water for their citizens and sending aid into places like Syria are common for the Jewish state.
  • Geopolitically.  Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, guaranteeing freedoms not possible in other lands in the region.  She is a city on a hill, shining brightly in a dark area.
  • Intellectually.  The “Innovation Nation” is a world leader in medical, agricultural and technological advancements.  The genius of that tiny country impacts the entire world.
  • Militarily.  The IDF (Israel Defense Force) is one of the world’s elite militaries.  Couple their innovation and technological prowess with the commitment of young men and women who clearly understand what they are fighting for and you have the most dominate military in the region.

We’ve discussed those and other reasons why Israel matters.  However, perhaps the most significant reason is because Israel was chosen by God to carry out a unique role in history.  In Genesis 12:3, God promises to bless Abraham and make him and his descendants a great nation.  Beyond that, He vowed that all the people of the earth will be blessed through Abraham.  That blessing is salvation, the greatest blessing ever conceived!

Our Father in heaven knew what it would take to implement that blessing, and it came in the form of a triumvirate of covenants, all of which must be in play in order to obtain salvation:

  • Abrahamic Covenant: the covenant of decision.  God decided before the foundations of the earth that He would devise a way that would allow every person to obtain the blessing of salvation.
  • Mosaic Covenant: the covenant of instruction.  Because the world failed (and still does) to see the need for salvation, God gave the law to Moses.  It’s purpose was to serve as a tutor, to show us our need for redemption.
  • New Covenant: the covenant of ability. God had to design a way in which we could enter into the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant.  Thus, He sent His Son to die for our sins and resurrect to give us new life.  That is the essence of the New Covenant.

All matter, and all are essential.  Just like a 3-legged stool, if you remove any of the three, God’s blessing of salvation falls short!

To add excitement to the mix, the New Covenant has a reward!  One day, Jesus the King will return to earth to rule and reign in righteousness.  All Israel will have been saved during the tribulation and they, along with all believers in Jesus the Messiah will reign with Him during the Millennial Kingdom.  Here is how Revelation 19:11-16 describes that coming:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

At Jesus’ first coming, the Jews were looking for a conquering king…one who would save them from the oppression of Roman rule.  Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey was symbolic of a king coming in peace, thus they did not recognize Him as Messiah.  The next time He comes, He will be that conquering king, and they will surely recognize Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Hasten the day, Lord Jesus!

We’re not done, my friends, so come back tomorrow as we continue our study together.  See you then!

The Third Great Covenant: New Covenant

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Wow, we’ve covered some exciting ground this week!  Thanks for following along, and I hope you are blessed as we study the third great covenant today.

Over the past two days, we have established that the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant function as a 3-legged stool, making all necessary.  The Abrahamic Covenant is the covenant of DECISION because God decided to preach the gospel to Abraham in order that, through him, all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  God decided what the Abrahamic Covenant would accomplish.

However, it wasn’t enough.  The world has a difficult time recognizing the need for salvation, thus God gave the law to Moses via the Mosaic Covenant.  This covenant of INSTRUCTION, teaches us our need for salvation (the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant), but in and of itself, it cannot save us!  The law is our tutor, not our savior!

So, we have God’s DECISION (Abrahamic Covenant) and INSTRUCTION (Mosaic Covenant), but we still lack the ABILITY…the third leg of the stool.  That is accomplished through the New Covenant, so that’s where we will focus today.

We spent yesterday in Galatians 3 and you’re encouraged to go back there again today.  Verses 10-14 tie the Mosaic Covenant to the New Covenant.  Notice what verses 10-13 tell us:

  • Living under law is a curse
  • No one is justified by the law
  • The law is not of faith

The kicker:  Christ redeemed us from the law!  How?  2 Corinthians 5:21 provides that answer:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Now, go back to Galatians 3:14!  Did you catch it?  Jesus became sin on our behalf…and it is through Him that we receive the promise of the Holy Spirit!

The apostle Paul is pointing us to what Jeremiah prophesied:

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
~Jeremiah 31:31-32 
[Emphasis mine]

According to Jeremiah, God is making a different covenant than the one He made with Moses.  He is making a New Covenant, and guess with whom He made it!?!  The house of Israel and the house of Judah……the Jewish people!  The New Covenant is a JEWISH thing, not a Christian thing!  Sometimes I think we have tried to hijack a Jewish covenant and make it our own.

Jesus’ death on the cross made the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant possible…to the Jew first!  But, because God preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, then commissioned him to be a blessing to all the families of the earth, we as Gentiles get to partake of a covenant made with the Jewish people and extended to us!

Wow!  What a plan!  The New Covenant is the third leg of the stool.  It is the covenant of ABILITY.

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
~Galatians 3:29

The 3-legged stool stands…each part based on the character of God.  The INSTRUCTION of the Mosaic Covenant, coupled with the ABILITY of the New Covenant, allows us to benefit from the DECISION of the Abrahamic Covenant.

But there’s more….and you’ll have to come back tomorrow as we tie up all the loose ends.  This is fabulous stuff that only a God infinitely bigger than our own imagination could ever conceive.  We’ll talk more tomorrow, but chew on what we’ve studied this week.

“Hineni: Here I am. Send me!”

How do you respond when God calls?

We are given several examples in Scripture where God called and the response was “Hineni!”  For example, at the burning bush, Moses replied, “Hineni!” to God when He called.  Abraham responded, “Hineni!” just before God asked him to sacrifice his only son.  Of course, Samuel’s cry of “Hineni!” is probably the best-known example in Scripture.

But have you ever thought about God saying, “Hineni!” when we call?  Our Father is devoted to us, and demonstrated it by sending His Son to die for us.  Because of that, He listens for our cries for help and responds with “Hineni!”

Hineni is the Hebrew word for “Here am I!”  I just read an excellent article from One for Israel, explaining the meaning of the word, then challenging us to heed God’s call.  I hope you will take time today to read Hineni: Here I am. Send me!

Be blessed, my friends!