Pastor Ken Maxey: Morning Devotion 01/18/22
A Rock and a Hard Place – Exodus 17
January 18, 2022
“’Behold, I (the Lord) 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.” Exodus 17:6 (ESV)
As a young boy growing up in the country, I would often find myself picking up rocks and doing various things with them. Sometimes I would skip them across a pond, throw them at barn swallows swooping down at me, or try to hit a can sitting on top of a fence post. Later when I was older, I used large rocks to help form a foundation around an outdoor basketball court in Honduras, and mixed gravel with cement to form a concrete court. I’ve even used rocks on a hiking trip by stacking them in a unique pile to serve as a trail marker.
Yet one thing I’ve never used a rock for was to get a drink of water from it. But this is exactly what we see Moses doing in the first half of Exodus 17!
In the first three verses of Exodus 17 we read that the people of Israel stop at Rephidim. Lo and behold there is no water to drink and the people start grumbling. Can you believe it? They begin to cry out to Moses accusing him of bringing them out of Egypt just so they could die in the wilderness. I am not sure how you would have reacted if you were Moses, but I’m pretty certain at this point I would have packed things up and headed back to my father-in-law’s place. Instead of putting up with all the complaining I would have gone back shepherding the dumb sheep.
Fortunately for the Israelites Moses was a humble and patient man. Instead of leaving them, he prays to God about this situation. God in turn tells Moses to do a few things: grab the rod he used to strike the Nile, pick some of the elders to pass before the people with him, and then strike the rock that was at Horeb.
If we break down this action plan of God’s I think we can learn a few things on how to take on situations when we find we are between a rock and a hard place.
First, we must take inventory of the tools God has given to us. God gave Moses a rod. It was eventually known as the “rod of God” because with it, Moses performed many miraculous events. The Lord has given us many tools and resources that we often easily dismiss. If we take a moment and assess all that He has given us, I think you’ll recognize you have more to work with than you realize.
Secondly, God has placed spiritually wise people in our lives to give us support. This is why it is so important to go to church, be part of a small group, and be active with other Christians serving and fellowshipping. Being together in settings that lend themselves to spiritual discussions and interactions can often provide a sense of social, spiritual, and psychological support needed to take on difficult worldly issues.
Thirdly, be public with your Christian walk. One way to hold yourself more accountable is by proclaiming your faith through your words, actions, and attitude to your co-workers, school mates, and even family or friends. By being public with your faith you may reconsider your actions the next time you are tempted to behave un-Christ like.
Fourth, is when you have sought God’s plan and you know what it is, you need to follow it even when it sounds ridiculous. Can you imagine Moses’s initial response when he was told to strike the rock in order to get water from it? Yet that is what Moses did. He continued to trust God’s plan because God had never let him down before, and he did not expect God to let him down this time.
The last thing we can learn from this, that perhaps even Moses did not fully realize, was that this rock represented the living water that would flow from Jesus Christ. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:4, “For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” While Paul was using this event in a symbolic way, in a very real sense we have opportunity to drink from the living water of Christ every day.
As Christians we have the benefit of reading the scriptures, the words of Jesus, and have 24/7 access to the refreshing Holy Spirit. So, the next time you find yourself in between a rock and a hard place, don’t just grumble and complain. Try looking to the Rock that is Jesus Christ to help you through it all. I’m certain He will always be there to save you.
I pray you have a terrific Tuesday!
Pastor Ken Maxey