I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. … All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.1 Corinthians 10:1 – 4 NLT
As the people of God started their wandering in the wilderness, they were grumbling because they had little water. Moses was frustrated with them and called out to God for help. And God said, “I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.”
Near the end of their wandering days, they had a similar issue. Again the people grumbled. And God said, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” You might know that in this story, Moses doesn’t obey God – he doesn’t speak to the rock – instead he strikes the rock twice. And for this Moses was denied the opportunity to go into the Promised Land.
What’s interesting is that a rock is present at the beginning and end of their wanderings. And in the New Testament we learn that symbolically, the Rock that was Christ was with the Israelite nation in their wanderings!
In Moses’ song, spoken near the end of the wanderings, near his death, he speaks of God saying, “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)
The metaphor of Christ as our Rock implies a strong foundation, unshakeable, sturdy, able to withstand the storms of life. Jesus himself gives us a great word picture of stability –
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”Matthew 7:24-25
Jesus is the Rock, our sure foundation!
Christ our Rock depicts Christ as our refuge – we run to the Rock for deliverance, as a place of safety, our fortress. Moses asked to see God’s glory and God told him that no one could see Him and live. But God made a way –
Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.Exodus 33:21-22
When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and
cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
The cleft of the Rock is the safest place to be!
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law’s demands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,Augustus Toplady, 1776
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.
As you pray today, I invite you to use the words of David in celebration of Christ our Rock! “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!”
2 Samuel 22:47