Exodus 17:1-7 | "1 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I 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. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
DREW: We must build our lives on Jesus the rock, there it is, and we will withstand all the storms of life. Matthew 7, verses 24 to 27, these are verses 24 and 25: “Everyone who hears” -- this is Jesus -- “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” If we hear the words of Jesus and if we do them, we want to be, as James said, “doers of the word,” not just hearers. We can’t do good without hearing the word of God and if we hear the word of God, there’s an inevitability about that we will then live in light of it or at least we should. And Jesus says here basically, look, I and my word, we’re the rock. Build your life, build your house on me. What He’s saying is, I have to be the foundation for who you are, who we are as His people, so build your life on it. Read the word, study the word, memorize the word, communicate with one another about it, share your joys, weep with those who weep, share your trials and your struggles, come back to the scripture. Jesus is the rock. He took the judgement. If he can take our sin, He can take all of the challenges that we face. Build your life, your house, upon the rock. It’s very, very critical.
And I want you to think of one other thing: In that passage, in addition to that, Jesus says, ‘look, if you build your house upon the rock, which is hearing my word and applying it, the storms will come’ -- and these are big time storms -- ‘the rain fell, the floods came, the winds blew, and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded upon the rock,’ and that means the trials of this life. Think of the storms of life, the metaphors, the hurricanes that we face, not just like Hurricane Hugo 30 years ago this fall, but the rain falls, you may have a stormy season. We like to refer to difficulties in life as it was just a stormy season for me. Well, the rain came, but because your house was built on Christ you still heard His word and applied it, you didn’t fall. You may have wept for weeks or months and been sad and had the blues and life was difficult. Out of that pit, though, God lifted you and He placed -- took you out of the miry pit and placed your feet upon the rock, which is Christ, which is where it was the whole time anyway.
And I want you to think of one other thing: Think of building your house on a rock and your house is there, it’s where you’re living, and the winds blew and beat on that house. The floods came, the rain fell, but it didn’t fall. Think of Christians, who we are, when God’s final judgement comes. Go back in the early chapters of Genesis and think of the flood. That ark was a house for Noah and his family and the animals and what happened? The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house, which was the ark. Maybe it was scary for them, but you know what, they did -- Noah did exactly what God told him to do and though the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew, it did not fall apart. It didn’t crash or crumble.
But in Jesus’s parable here, He goes on and says, “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand and the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell and great was the fall of it.” That’s the judgement that ultimately will come upon the people who don’t build their house upon the rock. The people who laughed and scoffed at Noah when he was building the ark and were left outside, they built their house upon the sand.
So what we want to do I think in conclusion -- and we’re going to open it up for some discussion here -- is remember the rock. Jesus is the rock who took the blow, the judgement blow, for our sin. He shed His blood and water came out as a result. Our hearts of stone were replaced with hearts of flesh and now our hearts beat for God and out of us flows streams of living water. And we, in conjunction with that, want to build our house upon Jesus and His word and live His word and study His word and be transformed by His word, so that out of us, who have had our hearts of stone replaced with hearts of flesh, streams of living water can flow to one another and to unbelievers even to the ends of the Earth that many, while they still have time, can turn from building their house upon the sand to building their house upon the rock, and understand the blessing and the benefits of Jesus taking that death blow in their place as their substitute, so that through them, even as through us, streams of living water might flow. Any concluding comments on any of this?
PENNY: One of my favorite authors of all time was Corrie ten Boom and I just remember thinking many times when I go through difficulties two sayings that she had. One was that, “I don’t hold on too tightly to things anymore, because when I do God has to pry my fingers away and it hurts.” And the other thing she said was, “There is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still.” And I love that saying, because it just reminds us there is no person and no situation that God cannot break through and He can now allow our love for Him to open that person’s heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
DREW: I think about this, that we will encounter people who have said, well, there’s no way God could forgiveme, no way God could love me, if He knew what I have done. Well, if you look at the cross and all that happened there, that’s why the cross happened; to forgive anything and everything in anyone who will come. Isaiah 55, “Come to the spring of living water and drink without cost, without price.” It doesn’t cost us anything to receive the benefits and the blessings of coming to Christ, but it cost Him everything. Now, of course, discipleship for us is costly.
NANCY: Well, a couple of different things and they’re related, but not, I guess, directly so. One of the things that came to mind when you were talking about people who say, well, you know, God could never forgive me for the things I have done, and you just have to think about the people in the Bible that God did forgive. I mean, take a look at David. I mean, he was so distraught and asked God for forgiveness, you know, after he had been with Bathsheba and God -- I mean, it seemed to him, I guess initially, this is terrible. You know, how can I ever come back from this, and God forgave him and used him mightily. So that’s a really good thing I think for us to think about that God can use any of us and God can use us even if we have not been living a life that would please Him. If we turn and repent and we become someone who is looking to God, He can use us mightily.
And the other thing that I was thinking about before when you were talking about trusting in God and He is the rock and there are storms that will come, one of my favorite stories is when Jesus was in the boat with His disciples and the storm came up and He with a couple of words calmed the waves and the disciples said, ‘who is this that even the wind and the waves obey Him?’ I’ve thought of that so many times when I’ve been going through things that were difficult and God can calm anything. We just need to continue to put our faith and our trust in Him and a lot of times we don’t know where the story is going, but the good news is God does and we just need to have faith and trust, which is difficult to do sometimes because we try to solve things on our own, but we need to really look to Him and let Him calm the waves and the wind.
LOLLIS: It’s just made me remember and reminded me of how important water is, how refreshing after you’ve been out for a long run, and nothing really refreshes you like -- Gatorade is a close second, but water is number one, but how refreshing that is and then to remember that we live in a world that is a desert. People are parched, people are trying numerous things to try and quench their thirst, and there’s really only one thing that will quench their thirst. And we have to also be very gentle when we are giving them water and not force feed them, not pour it all over their face, but to remind them, hey, this is living water, this is water from God, this is an eternal reward, this is what God will give you. God will give you His Holy Spirit to walk with you. But we as believers sometimes forget that that person beside us is parched and they desperately need water.
DON: When you said that Lollis, I had the image of that person that has just come out of surgery, so they’ve gone in for the healing and they’ve come out of surgery and they’re parched. I’ve had a couple of surgeries, so I know how parched you are and what do they tell you? Just a little sip at a time. And I think if we as Christians can remember that when we’re dealing with non-Christians and even our brothers and sisters in Christ to just give them a sip; you don’t have to pour the bottle down their throat. And I know I’m guilty of that at times, because I just want them to have it, I want you to get it, and I want you to get it now. But if I think about how I got it, how my thirst was satisfied, it was a sip at a time until I was able to take larger portions.
DREW: Excellent. Well, that is all that I have here from Exodus 17 on the rock, the rock pointing towards Jesus, who took the judgement blow of God to pay for our sins, and out of Him came His sacrificial blood and the streams of living water that then flow through us as we build our house and our foundation on Christ himself. So with all those things in mind, thank you so much for participating in this. This is not only helpful, hopefully for all of us, but it’s great to get to know one another as well. Let’s pray.
Father, we marvel at your grace. We thank you for your word that teaches us. I thank you so much for my brothers and sisters here, for their input, for their willingness to share, and we pray that we would all come away from this just amazed at your life saving grace. We pray, Father, that you would etch it in our minds really forever that Jesus Christ is the rock who took the judgement blow of God from God that was due us in order that in Him we might have everlasting life and participate in the living water that is Christ himself. We pray in His name. Amen.