Exodus 17

* The Israelites murmur for water at Rephidim, God sendeth it

out of the rock. (1-7) Amalek overcome, The prayers of Moses.


1-7 The children of Israel journeyed according to the

commandment of the Lord, led by the pillar of cloud and fire,

yet they came to a place where there was no water for them to

drink. We may be in the way of duty, yet may meet with troubles,

which Providence brings us into, for the trial of our faith, and

that God may be glorified in our relief. They began to question

whether God was with them or not. This is called their "tempting

God," which signifies distrust of him after they had received

such proofs of his power and goodness. Moses mildly answered

them. It is folly to answer passion with passion; that makes bad

worse. God graciously appeared to help them. How wonderful the

patience and forbearance of God toward provoking sinners! That

he might show his power as well as his pity, and make it a

miracle of mercy, he gave them water out of a rock. God can open

fountains for us where we least expect them. Those who, in this

wilderness, keep to God's way, may trust him to provide for

them. Also, let this direct us to depend on Christ's grace. The

apostle says, that Rock was Christ, #1Co 10:4|, it was a type of

him. While the curse of God might justly have been executed upon

our guilty souls, behold the Son of God is smitten for us. Let

us ask and receive. There was a constant, abundant supply of

this water. Numerous as believers are, the supply of the Spirit

of Christ is enough for all. The water flowed from the rock in

streams to refresh the wilderness, and attended them on their

way towards Canaan; and this water flows from Christ, through

the ordinances, in the barren wilderness of this world, to

refresh our souls, until we come to glory. A new name was given

to the place, in remembrance, not of the mercy of their supply,

but of the sin of their murmuring: "Massah," Temptation, because

they tempted God; "Meribah," Strife, because they chid with

Moses. Sin leaves a blot upon the name.
8-16 Israel engaged with Amalek in their own necessary defence.

God makes his people able, and calls them to various services

for the good of his church. Joshua fights, Moses prays, both

minister to Israel. The rod was held up, as the banner to

encourage the soldiers. Also to God, by way of appeal to him.

Moses was tired. The strongest arm will fail with being long

held out; it is God only whose hand is stretched out still. We

do not find that Joshua's hands were heavy in fighting, but

Moses' hands were heavy in praying; the more spiritual any

service is, the more apt we are to fail and flag in it. To

convince Israel that the hand of Moses, whom they had been

chiding, did more for their safety than their own hands, his rod

than their sword, the success rises and falls as Moses lifts up

or lets down his hands. The church's cause is more or less

successful, as her friends are more or less strong in faith, and

fervent in prayer. Moses, the man of God, is glad of help. We

should not be shy, either of asking help from others, or of

giving help to others. The hands of Moses being thus stayed,

were steady till the going down of the sun. It was great

encouragement to the people to see Joshua before them in the

field of battle, and Moses above them on the hill. Christ is

both to us; our Joshua, the Captain of our salvation, who fights

our battles, and our Moses, who ever lives, making intercession

above, that our faith fail not. Weapons formed against God's

Israel cannot prosper long, and shall be broken at last. Moses

must write what had been done, what Amalek had done against

Israel; write their bitter hatred; write their cruel attempts;

let them never be forgotten, nor what God had done for Israel in

saving them from Amalek. Write what should be done; that in

process of time Amalek should be totally ruined and rooted out.

Amalek's destruction was typical of the destruction of all the

enemies of Christ and his kingdom.
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