Exodus 17* The Israelites murmur for water at Rephidim, God sendeth itout of the rock. (1-7) Amalek overcome, The prayers of Moses.(8-16)1-7 The children of Israel journeyed according to thecommandment of the Lord, led by the pillar of cloud and fire,yet they came to a place where there was no water for them todrink. We may be in the way of duty, yet may meet with troubles,which Providence brings us into, for the trial of our faith, andthat God may be glorified in our relief. They began to questionwhether God was with them or not. This is called their "temptingGod," which signifies distrust of him after they had receivedsuch proofs of his power and goodness. Moses mildly answeredthem. It is folly to answer passion with passion; that makes badworse. God graciously appeared to help them. How wonderful thepatience and forbearance of God toward provoking sinners! Thathe might show his power as well as his pity, and make it amiracle of mercy, he gave them water out of a rock. God can openfountains for us where we least expect them. Those who, in thiswilderness, keep to God's way, may trust him to provide forthem. Also, let this direct us to depend on Christ's grace. Theapostle says, that Rock was Christ, #1Co 10:4|, it was a type ofhim. While the curse of God might justly have been executed uponour guilty souls, behold the Son of God is smitten for us. Letus ask and receive. There was a constant, abundant supply ofthis water. Numerous as believers are, the supply of the Spiritof Christ is enough for all. The water flowed from the rock instreams to refresh the wilderness, and attended them on theirway towards Canaan; and this water flows from Christ, throughthe ordinances, in the barren wilderness of this world, torefresh our souls, until we come to glory. A new name was givento the place, in remembrance, not of the mercy of their supply,but of the sin of their murmuring: "Massah," Temptation, becausethey tempted God; "Meribah," Strife, because they chid withMoses. 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 servicesfor the good of his church. Joshua fights, Moses prays, bothminister to Israel. The rod was held up, as the banner toencourage the soldiers. Also to God, by way of appeal to him.Moses was tired. The strongest arm will fail with being longheld out; it is God only whose hand is stretched out still. Wedo not find that Joshua's hands were heavy in fighting, butMoses' hands were heavy in praying; the more spiritual anyservice is, the more apt we are to fail and flag in it. Toconvince Israel that the hand of Moses, whom they had beenchiding, did more for their safety than their own hands, his rodthan their sword, the success rises and falls as Moses lifts upor lets down his hands. The church's cause is more or lesssuccessful, as her friends are more or less strong in faith, andfervent in prayer. Moses, the man of God, is glad of help. Weshould not be shy, either of asking help from others, or ofgiving help to others. The hands of Moses being thus stayed,were steady till the going down of the sun. It was greatencouragement to the people to see Joshua before them in thefield of battle, and Moses above them on the hill. Christ isboth to us; our Joshua, the Captain of our salvation, who fightsour battles, and our Moses, who ever lives, making intercessionabove, that our faith fail not. Weapons formed against God'sIsrael cannot prosper long, and shall be broken at last. Mosesmust write what had been done, what Amalek had done againstIsrael; write their bitter hatred; write their cruel attempts;let them never be forgotten, nor what God had done for Israel insaving them from Amalek. Write what should be done; that inprocess of time Amalek should be totally ruined and rooted out.Amalek's destruction was typical of the destruction of all theenemies of Christ and his kingdom.
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