In the previous part, we saw that the Israelites tasted the bread of heaven. They also drank the bitter water which was made to turn sweet. Let us see what happened next.
Water from the Rock
The Israelites then journeyed from the wilderness of Sin and pitched their camp in Rephidim. There was no water for people to drink. So they began to chide with Moses, “Give us water that we may drink. Why have you brought us from Egypt to kill us of thirst?” Moses then cried to God saying “Israelites are ready to stone me.” God said to him, “Go before the people with a rod and strike the rock at Mount Horeb. And waters shall come out of it. And Moses did likewise and water came out of the rock. The place was called Massah and Meribah, because people tempted the Lord saying, is God among us? A detailed version of this incident is given in Numbers 20. There is a little discrepancy in Exodus 17 and Numbers 20. In Numbers 20, it is mentioned that Moses was not asked to strike the rock, but speak unto it.
Significance of this event is not unknown to us. We know that Christ is the rock from which we drink waters of eternal life. Apostle Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthians 10:4. We also read in Gospels, that when this Christ was crucified, one of the soldiers pierced his side, and forthwith came water and blood (John 19:34). Jesus also said, (to the Samaritan woman), “Whosoever drinks of the water of this well will thirst again, but whosoever will drink of the water that I shall give, he shall never thirst … (John 4:13-14).” Then again on the last day of the feast of tabernacle, Jesus said, “If any man thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He that believeth on me as the scriptures say, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38).”
From the details in Numbers 20, we read that Moses struck the rock twice when he was asked to speak unto it. He doubted God when he said, “Shall we bring water for you out of this rock (Num 20:10)?” So God said to him “Because you believed me not,….. you will not lead people into the land of Canaan.” Similarly, we read in the gospels, Jesus had asked people to request from him waters of eternal life (John 7:38). But Jews believed him not. Instead, they struck him on the cross. They pierced him. Nevertheless, as waters came out from rock even when Moses struck it instead of speaking to it, so also eternal life issued when people crucified him instead of requesting it from Jesus when he was alive. The gift and promise of God were fulfilled irrespective of humanity’s failure (Rom 3:3). Just like Moses was denied entry into Canaan, so also were Jews who disbelieved in Jesus, made blind (Matt 22:6-10, Acts 13:46, 2 Cor 3:13).
So here is the conclusion for easy remembrance
- Jesus is the spiritual rock (1 Cor 10:4)
- Water from Rock – Eternal life from Jesus (John 4:13-14, John 7:38)
- Moses struck it instead of speaking – Jews crucified Jesus instead of requesting Jesus
- Moses was denied entry – Jews were made blind (2 Co 3:13, Acts 13:46, Matt 22:6-10)
The Battle with Amalekites
Then we read that the Amalekites came and fought with Israel. After drinking from the Spiritual rock the fleshly seed came and fought with them who had drunk from the spiritual rock. So Moses commanded Joshua to select men and fight against the Amalekites, while he would go on top of the mountain holding the rod in his hand. And as long as Moses held up his hand, the Israelites won and when Moses brought his hands down, the Amalekites prevailed. And when Moses felt tired Aaron and Hur laid a stone and Moses sat on it. They supported his hand on either side. And the battle went on till going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited people of Amalek with the sword. God then said to Moses “write this as a memorial in a book. I will put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it – Jehovah Nissi – which means Lord gives me victory.
Now there are two mentions of battles in the New Testament (in relation to individual believers). First is the battle of flesh versus Spirit. We read it in Galatians (Gal 5:17). Characteristic of this battle is expressed in the following words – adultery, fornication, lasciviousness, witchcraft, idolatry, hatred, wrath, envying, murder etc. Basically it means we have struggled against sin. Notice this is not a battle with only one type of sin (i.e. sexual sins), but all types of sins, from murder, hatred, anger and rest others. This type of believer’s battle is his individual battle with respect to his behaviour and action. The second battle in believer’s life is mentioned in the book of Ephesians. Paul writes, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of darkness (Eph 6:14-18).” Attributes of the second battle are expressed by mentioning words like shoes of the gospel, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, lions girt with truth, the sword of Spirit and breastplate of righteousness. All these words viz., gospel, salvation, faith, righteousness, Spirit (new birth -regeneration) are part of hearing the gospel, maintaining it, spreading it and defending it by means of shoes for spreading, sword for attacking, faith for defending, helmet for protection, loins girt with truth for standing unshakable by darts of confusion. So the second battle seems to be fought more on the frontier of our gospel knowledge and at doctrinal level (theology level).
We read that the secret of this victory over Amalek, was not dependent on the skills of Joshua and his chosen men, but it was directly dependent on Moses, who had climbed up the hill. If Moses lifted his hands then Israelites prevailed, and if Moses let his hands down, enemies prevailed. We know that Moses is a shadow of Jesus. We had seen this comparison in part 1 (click here). Moses, therefore, ascending up the hill is a type of Jesus ascending to Father’s right hand and praying/interceding for us (Mark 16:19, Heb 7:25). Following scriptures below draw the same conclusion that Jesus went up high to interceding with father so that we may overcome this world. This is totally dependent on what Jesus is doing in heaven not how we are fighting it on earth.
But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.Heb 10:12-13
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.1 John 2:1
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.Heb 4:14