THE FAITH REST LIFE
R. B. THIEME, JR.
R. B. THIEME, JR., BIBLE MINISTRIES
In the midst of the problems of life the Christian soldier stands on the solid ground of the Word of God. He rests, fully assured that what God has promised, He is always able to perform.
"Stand still and watch the deliverance of the Lord." (Ex. 14:13a)
"The battle is the Lord's." (1° Sam. 17:47b)
THE FAITH REST LIFE
Scanned by Carlo Guarneri, June 2016. Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex Area, TX
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This book is edited from the lectures and unpublished notes of R. B. Thieme, Jr.
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R. B. Thieme, Jr., Bible Ministries
P. O. Box 460829, Houston, Texas 77056-8829
2004,1999, 1961 by R. B. Thieme, Jr. First edition published 1961. Third edition published 2004.
Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. Printed in the United States of America. ISBN l-55764-000-9
Before you begin your Bible study, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our [known] sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our [known] sins and to cleanse us from all [unknown or forgotten sins] unrighteousness. (1° John l:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, filled with the Holy Spirit, and ready to learn Bible doctrine from the Word of God.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in [the filling of the] spirit and [biblical] truth." (John 4:24)
If you have never personally believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, the issue is not naming your sins. The issue is faith alone in Christ alone.
"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey [the command to believe in] the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36)
The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any I two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, and of the joints and the marrow, and is a critic of thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb. 4:12)
All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God might be mature, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim.2:15)
The Principle of the Faith-Rest Life
At one time it was considered impossible to fly faster than the speed of sound. Scientific progress has made this possible. Man has cracked the sound barrier; he has advanced beyond the point which he thought he could not go.
But there is another barrier which poses a problem for the believer, and I like to call it the faith barrier. It takes a great deal of speed to crack the sound barrier, but to crack the faith barrier requires, not excessive speed, but simply standing still. There is no work, no movement involved at all-just believing, or trusting the Lord, and then, to keep on trusting and waiting on Him. This is a wonderful technique provided experientially for every believer.
We should already know that there is a wonderful place appositionally for every believer, for everyone who is "in Christ."
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1, a)
We know that we are new creatures in Christ. We are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh (Gen.2:23; cf., Eph. 5:29-30). We are partakers of the divine nature. We share the life of Christ which is eternal life. We share the righteousness of Christ which is a perfect righteousness. We share His destiny. We share His heirship. We share His sonship. We share His election. We share His priesthood and many other things. We know we have a perfect position in Jesus Christ. But I wonder if we realize all that God has provided for us experientially?
We are so busy seeking happiness, we are so busy hustling around trying to find something that will bring satisfaction, that we ignore one of the great things in the Word of God—a place of perfect peace! A place of joy or inner happiness! A place of strength! A place of stability! A place of power! A place of impact! No matter what happens, no matter how difficult the circumstances, no matter how great the pressure, adversities, or the problems of life, we can have this "peace of God which passes all understanding" (Phil. 4:7). Or, as someone once quipped, "The peace of God which passes all misunderstanding." So, there is a place of perfect peace, a place of power, a place where our lives can count for Him. Sometimes, the Scripture refers to it as the "sabbath"—not a seventh day, not a sabbatical year, but a moment-by-moment sabbath, a faith-rest, in the midst of the great adversities of life. It makes possible perfect inner peace in the presence of outer tribulation.
It is described for us in the four passages which we will examine in this study: Exodus 17, Numbers 20, Hebrews 3 and 4, and Isaiah 40. The first three passages will describe the principles of faith-rest, while Hebrews 4 will analyze the mechanics.
THE FIRST MERIBAH INCIDENT
In Exodus, chapter 17, we come to a crisis in the history of the children of Israel. They had been delivered from the slavery of Egypt through the shed blood of the Passover lamb which foreshadows the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the cross.
They had passed through the Red Sea by God's miraculous grace
and now face the vital issue which every believer must face in his or her life. "If I as a believer, as one who has trusted in Christ and is born again, have trusted Christ for the big thing, which is salvation, can I trust Him for the needs, the problems, and the difficulties arising in everyday life? I have trusted Him for the greatest manifestation of His grace. Can I trust Him to graciously meet the problems, the difficulties, and the situations which exist daily in my life? Does the Lord really have answers to these questions?"
During the course of a week the average pastor hears people relate to him various facets of that which we call bad news. Now a man could not stay in the ministry unless he has answers for all of this bad news. If there were no real answers for all the heartaches, the problems, adversities, frustrations, difficulties, and troubles, no pastor could stand it for very long. When everything is going right, people do not come to the pastor. About the only time people seek a pastor when they are happy is when they want to get married. Consequently, a pastor hears very little good news from his congregation. However, if he is a minister who studies the Word, he knows there is a technique which provides answers for every problem, difficulty, and adverse situation in life. This is his consolation, this is his blessing and great joy, that no matter what the situation, he has answers related to Bible doctrine.
However, the mistake so many believers make is that they want a pat yes or no answer to their particular problem. They want the pastor to tell them which way to jump-to say, "Turn ninety degrees to the starboard and three degrees to the port, and your problem is solved." Yet it is seldom that the pastor can outline a specific diagram which says, "Do this and do that." Before there can be a diagram outlining a certain thing in a certain way, there is a principle which must be followed. This principle is the solution to any problem that any believer will ever face. Remember, as you face your problems, the greatest problem in your life has been solved. It was solved at Calvary's cross.
He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21, NASB)
Jesus Christ bore every sin that you have ever committed, solving the sin problem completely. On the cross His substitutionary sacrifice (1 Pet 2.24) removed sin and the penalty of sin as a barrier between you and God.(Eph 1.7; Col 2.14) When you trusted in the Son God, your past sins were forgiven and you entered into a relations with God for eternity as well as time. And, while you may understand the repercussions of your eternal relationship, it is also important know the repercussions of your temporal relationship with Him.
There are certain experiences which belong to you. There is rebound (1 John 1:9) which purifies you from the sins and wrongdoing you commit after salvation. There is a fellowship which you can have with Lord in time, in your everyday life. There is a way in which you honor Him and represent Him. There is a way in which your life can count for Him. It makes no difference who you are or what you are. No matter how discouraged you may be, as long as you are still alive, God has a purpose for your life. God has a reason for your continuance on the face of this earth. He wants you to glorify Him, and wants you to fulfill your responsibility as an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor.5:20). You and I face exactly the same issue that the child of Israel faced several thousand years ago. Their problem touched each one of them personally. The Holy Spirit has seen fit to record us, through the pen of Moses, what to them was an overwhelming situation. Actually in the light of their great deliverance from Egypt was not much of a problem at all.
Verse 1. "And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to commandment of the Lord." Notice that the Lord led them to place; they were in the Lord's will when they arrived there, "accord to the commandment of the Lord." Have you ever been deluded that evangelistic pitch? "Accept Christ, and you will never have trouble again!" Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, opposite is more often the case. Christ said,
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
When you accept Christ, although you possess eternal life and will live in the presence of God forever in your resurrection body, you will have trouble in time. But you will also have the means of stabilizing and meeting every problem and every difficulty with tranquility. You have not lived as a Christian until you have been in a place where you are helpless, where the brook is dried up (1 Kings 17:7), where there is no human solution, where there is nothing that you can do or say. where you are so numb from the shock of pressure that you cannot even pray! You have not lived until you have been in that place. For sooner or later God brings every believer to the dried-up brook. And every believer must face a set of circumstances where the situation is dark and hopeless, where there is no human solution. That is exactly what God did with the children of Israel.
He has delivered them from the slavery of Egypt, He has led them through the waters of the Red Sea,
and they have now moved to the place called Rephidim. Here in the wilderness there was no water for the people to drink.
A great host of people—perhaps as many as two million adults, plus all of their children—and there is not one drop of water! The Hebrew word "wilderness" or "desert" is מִּדְבַּר (midbar, desert de Sin, מִדְבַּר־סִ֔ין). Wasteland. Dry sand. Led by God to a dry desert place, they face a serious water problem. Quickly they begin to suffer. God permitted this for one purpose. God said to that generation, as He is saying to us as believers today, "Will you trust Me?"
You have trusted Him for salvation. You have believed in Jesus Christ and have received Him as your Lord and Savior.
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:32)
This was the greatest thing He ever did for you. It cost Him infinitely more to send His Son to the cross to be judged for your sins than anything else He could have done. If He did the most for you at the cross, will He now do less for you as a believer? If He did the most for you when you were His enemy—and we were all His enemies when Christ died for us (Rom.5:10)—what will He do for you now that you are His son (John l:12)? Can He do less than He did before? Emphatically not! He will do more. But there is only one thing that God required for them to enter into this moment-by-moment Sabbath, the place of perfect peace and stability. Faith! He says, "Will you trust Me?" For this very purpose He has given us promises in writing—promises we can take by faith and use and believe promises which will stabilize each of us.
In the passage before us, there is an opportunity for a people in a desperate situation to avail themselves of God's provision, to enter into His perfect rest. I wish I could read in verse 2 words like this: "So the people all knelt down and said, 'Thank you Lord for giving us the tremendous opportunity to trust You. And, while the outlook is hopeless, we await Your pleasure right here. We trust You for water, and we are simply waiting now to see You work. We remember what Moses said on the other side of the Red Sea, "Stand still and watch the deliverance of the Lord," and we stood there and we watched. Now we stand still again to watch You work."'
To apply faith-rest like this would be wonderful. But, I would not have much of a sermon if that were true. Instead, how often do we hit the panic button when things go wrong? How often do we stay on the wrong side of the faith barrier? How often do we get upset, fall apart and get disturbed? Yet, if there are any people on the face of the earth who ought to be calm and courageous, exhibiting peace with joy strength and impact in the midst of adversity, it ought to be ever person who knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Verse 2. But instead we read, "Wherefore the people did chide." Since transliteration is used in most of these passages, I am going to change the word "chide" to its Hebrew word, מְרִיבָ֑ה (meribah) . Hence, the people "meribahed." Today the word chide does not mean much. In the days of Shakespeare and King James, this word would be similar to our modern English word "gripe," "complain," or "criticize." But we will use the word meribah for reasons you will understand later.
The people "meribahed against Moses. They criticized him, they complained to him, they hit the panic button in his presence. They cried, "Give us water that we may drink!" Now what a strange request to Moses. What did they think Moses was going to do? Did they think he would wave a handkerchief in the air and say, "Hocus-pocus, where the handkerchief falls we dig a well"? Did they think that Moses had some supernatural power? The deliverance was of the Lord, and Moses had always said so. When things were going well Moses never received any credit. When things were not going well, Moses was always blamed. This follows the pattern of the sin nature. Human nature must have a scapegoat, and the scapegoat is always the leader. Moses is now beginning to bear that extraordinary pressure that he will carry all of his life, the tremendous pressure of leadership. Here we see Moses with broad shoulders.
"And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? [Why do you meribah against me?] wherefore do ye tempt the Lord [that is, tempt the Lord to remove you from this life]?" Is the Lord too small for us? Cannot the Lord meet our needs? Who was it that delivered us from the hopeless slavery of Egypt? If the Lord did the most for us there, do you think the Lord, who held back the waters of the Red Sea, could perhaps meet our need of water?
Verse 3. "The people thirsted there for water." It was a very real thing, a very real problem. The people "meribahed against Moses and said, "Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?" In a time of crisis there is always the crowd who complains. Yet, God never intended for any believer to complain in a time of crisis. God intended for every believer to trust Him, to mix the promises of God with faith, to crack the faith barrier! When we complain and when we criticize in a time of crisis and pressure, we are demonstrating once again our unbelief, our failure to trust Him.
Everything that follows in this passage is strictly a matter of grace. Some believers never see the provisions of the grace of God, even though they have appropriated it through faith alone in Christ alone in salvation. It is astounding that God always gives us what we do not deserve, what we cannot earn! God is going to give water to this people, though they have done nothing to deserve or merit it. They have done everything to not deserve it. While everyone is giving Moses, as we might say, "static," what did this servant of the Lord do?
Verses 4 and 5. "Moses cried unto the Lord." Here is a picture of a great man. Moses did not enter into rebuttal. Moses did not enter into argumentation. Moses did not even try to justify himself. He cried to the Lord for help saying, "What shall I do unto this people? They be almost ready to stone me."
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people." This is a most interesting answer. The people are ready to stone Moses, yet the Lord says, "Get out in front of them where you will make a good target." Now Moses must obey the Lord and go before these people who have their hands filled with rocks, but how is he going to do it? Is he going out there in the courage of his own strength?
No, he is going to walk out there like David before the giant. Moses believed the Lord in the crisis! That is why Moses was the leader. The others could criticize, complain, and shout their imprecations, but they did not have that quiet, stable, strong, steady quality as did Moses. He could trust the Lord moment-by-moment. Moses believed it when He said,
"The Lord will fight for you"
(Ex. 14:14, NASB)
or as David expressed it,
"The battle is the Lord's"
(l Sam. 17:47).
Thus, Moses obeyed his commanding officer and went before the angry mob. Then the Lord added, "And take with thee the elders of Israel." In other words, "Moses, since there are others who will share the leadership responsibilities, and who need to learn to trust Me, get them out there so they too can be a target for the rocks of the people."
"And thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go." This is a special rod. This is a rod of judgment.
Verse 6. Now follows a promise from the Lord: "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock."
This Hebrew word for rock, בַצּ֗וּר (upon tsur), refers to a sharp, jagged rock. Here we see typology, as well as a record of historical truth. Here is a picture of Christ the Rock, being smitten for us on the cross (1 Cor. 10:4).
For just as Moses would take the rod in his hand and would strike the jagged rock, so God the Father smote God the Son on the cross for you and me. As a result, from the death of Christ flows the water of salvation.
"Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink." Now notice the obedience of faith: Moses did exactly as the Lord instructed him. "Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah (מַסָּ֖ה וּמְרִיבָ֑ה)." Will you please remember the Meribah? If I should say to you Texans, "Remember the Alamo" you would know exactly what I mean. Now I say to you as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, "Remember the Meribah!" Remember the warning of unbelief, of failure to crack the faith barrier!
THE SECOND MERIBAH INCIDENT
After forty years of wandering, after the generation of the Exodus had died off, a new generation of the children of Israel came back to the same place where their fathers had been tested with no water. Would they remember the Meribah?
Verse 1. "Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month . . . And there was no water for the congregation" (v. 2a). What had happened during those forty years? The children of Israel had many pressures, problems, and needs. All during that time God had graciously and faithfully provided every logistical need that the Jews had for their wilderness journey. If they needed shoes, and they did, He supplied them. If they needed water, and they did, He supplied it. If they needed knowledge of military science to defeat their enemies, He supplied it. If they needed food, and they did, He supplied it. He also supplied the doctrine necessary to grow spiritually. He met every need that they had for forty years. For forty years the children of Israel had seen nothing but the faithfulness and grace of God!
I want this narrative to be practical to you, even though it happened many centuries ago. Substitute for "no water" whatever your problems are right now. No what? No money? No friends? No happiness? No husband? No wife? What is it? There is a no something in everyone's life, but it has a purpose. God has a reason for it, and He says to you through that no something you think you lack, "Will you trust Me? I have given you something that I did not give that generation in the wilderness. I have given you over seven thousand promises for time and in writing." When God says it, that settles it.
The Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Pet. l:23b)
As eternal God, as Sovereign, as undiminished deity, as omnipotent and immutable, God does not have the ability to go back on His Word. Have you ever thought of that? He cannot go back on His Word! However, these seven thousand promises can be used only in time. You will not need them in eternity. There are, however, many promises regarding eternity.
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Phil. 3:20-21)
And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev. 2l:4b)
There is also the promise in heaven of a mansion (John 14:2), and of being "at home [face-to-face] with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8, NASB).
But we are dealing with time, with the 'no water' problem, with the situation that you face right now. Every one of us has a problem. Every one of us faces some difficult situation. If you think you have no problems, rest assured, you will sooner or later. Even though you are in a place of prosperity now, you would do well to take heed of God's warning. Prosperity also has its problems. When things are going smoothly, it is often more difficult to keep your eyes on the Lord than during adversity. Also, we must remember that prosperity does not always last. Adversity is certain at some time in your life. Yet even in suffering and pressure, it is possible to possess the same joy, the tranquility and blessing which you had in prosperity. This is the stability which is produced by continuous faith, no matter what the circumstances. Faith must be tested through pressure so that we will mature and so that we will learn to lean on Him. You and I have in writing all that we need to pass the test. We simply claim it by faith. The children of Israel had the chance to crack the faith barrier, to pass the test of faith in Numbers 20, at the same location where the first generation failed.
Verses 2 and 3. "There was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode [meribahed] with Moses, and spake, saying, 'Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!"'
This is a familiar complaint. I have heard it so many times and in so many ways. "Oh, I wish I were dead. Life is so hard! Lord, let me die. No one has it as rough as I have it." I have often thought that if there were some way to scare these people into thinking they were going to die in one minute, they would change their attitude in a hurry. It is interesting to observe that people, who frequently say this, say it to someone who is having a much more difficult time than they are. Now, listen to the congregation in the wilderness, "Would God we had died when our brethren died."
They did not really want to die when their brethren died. Why? Their brethren had died the sin unto death—believers who died because they had failed the Lord so often and so long that God removed them from this world. It would be like a star quarterback saying to himself, “Oh, I wish the coach would take me out of the game!" He does not really want to be removed from the game. If he has failed, he wants to keep going and rectify his mistakes. Who ever heard of a football player wanting the coach to take him out of the game just because he has made a mistake? He wants to stay in; he wants to keep playing. I do not know why it is, but believers so often get to the point of despair and then say, “I wish I were dead."
Verses 4 and 5. These people had fallen into this same pattern, and so they said, "Why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this desert place, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us into the evil place?"
Now they are saying that Moses made them leave Egypt! How many times as a believer have you come to some experience in your life and said, "This is horrible. I never had anything like this as an unbeliever. Before I was a Christian, everything went smoothly." This is exactly what the Jews said. Remember, this is the second generation of those that left Egypt and who said, "this [desert] 'is no place of seed or figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates."'Do you know what they are longing for? Egypt! And they are saying, as believers who have been delivered from the slavery of Egypt, "Oh, that we were back in Egypt." They are not thinking of the chains. They are not thinking of the lash of the taskmasters. They are thinking only of the pleasant things. I have heard believers say, "My unbelieving friends were kinder to me than Christians. Those people were always so sweet. Everything seemed so much better." They think only of the figs and the vines and the pomegranates.
Every time you get under pressure, do you want to go back to something you had before? It is a very dangerous thing for a Christian who gets under pressure to look back into his unbelieving life, back into the so-called pleasures of the world from which he has been delivered. There are many believers who not only look back, but they are willing to turn back for something they desire. They are willing not to be identified with believers any more. But they can never change their identification with Christ.
Here was a generation who, instead of trusting the Lord, fell into the same pattern as their fathers. They longed to return to Egypt. This was a psychological sublimation. They wanted to substitute Egypt for the place of testing. It is human nature to want to get away from an unpleasant situation. These Israelites now think of Egypt as being a pleasant, happy place. "Oh, to go back to Egypt. Oh, the fun we could have in Egypt. There is plenty of water there. Why, there is the Nile river, just full of water." In reality they failed the test because they did not do the first thing that all of us should do in our no water situation.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (l Thess. 5:18)
Let me ask you a frank question. Have you thanked the Lord for that no water problem you have in your life? Do you thank Him every day for it? Do you wake up and say, "Father, this is Your day. I am still breathing and I am still alive because of Your grace. What do You have for me today? And thank you, Father, for the adversity in my life." Then, are you aware that "all things work together for good to them that love God" (Rom. 8:28)? Do you recognize that you cannot grow into the spiritually mature believer God wants you to be, and that you cannot count for Him until your faith is tested?
When you attend a football game, do you think the players run out on the field because they happen to be a little bigger than anyone else? I should say not. Their size does not mean a thing. They take the field because they want to compete; they have been prepared to compete. There are hours and hours of push-ups, duck waddles, running, stopping, starting, falling, hitting, charging, and all the rest of it. This is the training and testing period. They start in the heat of August and they almost die the first few days. They limp over to the sideline nauseated and ill, but then they go back on the practice field. They run weighted down with heavy padding and heavy uniforms. It is agonizing training. During the first few days of football practice there is scarcely a man who does not ask, "Is it worth it?" But if you survive the first few days, your mental attitude gradually changes. The training pays off. You develop coordination and muscular ability which enables you to go out on the field and play with courage, determination, strength and skill.
In the secret place of practice, where no one else can see it, you are being constantly tested. You live in the generation in which God has to cut ninety-eight percent of the squad because they cannot survive the no water test. This is a weak generation of believers because so little doctrine is known, and so few of the promises in the Word are claimed. They have not cracked the faith barrier. They have not moved into the life which God has provided for them. They spend time 'looking back toward Egypt,' or looking at leadership, criticizing, complaining, and blaming someone else.
Verse 6. Now notice the contrast in the attitudes of Moses and Aaron. "And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces."
They went to the door of the Tabernacle, inside the outer court. There in this crisis they sought the Lord, "and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them."
Verses 7 and 8. "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod." This is a different rod from that with which he smote the river in Egypt and the rock forty years before, because there is a new analogy here. This is actually Aaron's rod that budded. "Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock הַסֶּ֛לַע, (haselá);” This is a different Hebrew word for rock from that found in Exodus 17:6. This word means an elevated rock, and it is a picture of Christ in resurrection. And you will notice, Moses is to hold the rod and speak to the rock. Just as Christ is smitten once for sin, now we speak to the resurrected Christ. This is a tremendous illustration of Christ in the First Advent.
So, the Lord said, "Speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink." Of course, the analogy is the faith-rest life, for this time the water is blessing and strength. Now notice what follows, for this is the failure which kept Moses from leading the people across the Jordan and entering into Canaan. This is why Joshua was chosen to replace Moses.
Verses 9 and l0."And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him."
So far, Moses was obedient. "And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?"
This was not part of the instructions from the Lord.
God in His grace did not see fit to rebuke Israel by words, but by action. But Moses could not resist the temptation to rebuke them verbally. Moses has had enough. He is fed up. He is tired of the "meribahing." He is going to make a speech which would have been all right, had God authorized it. There were times when God authorized Moses to call the Israelites stiff-necked rebels, but not here. This time God has a different method of teaching them about grace. He is going to be gracious with Moses.
Verse 11. "And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he struck the rock twice," contrary to divine instruction. In the face of such disobedience it is natural to think, "God will never bring water." Moses and Aaron cannot fetch water out of a rock. But God is gracious, and despite Moses' disobedience, out comes the water, and the illustration of grace is preserved. Christ was smitten for us once for the water of salvation. Now we speak in prayer to the resurrected Rock for the water of blessing. And, notice the adverb: "Water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also."
Verse 12. Then the Lord took Moses aside and punished him. But He did it privately. You see, Moses was in the place of leadership, and it was to the Lord he must answer, not the congregation. "And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not." Though Moses and Aaron were saved, they failed to enter into faith-rest at this moment. They failed to crack the faith barrier.
"Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me [set me apart] in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them."
Verse 13. "Those were the waters of Meribah." Remember the Meribah! Remember the warning of unbelief, of failure to crack the faith barrier!