Brink of Disaster
[Announce text] Please look with me in Scripture at Exodus 17:1-7.
[Scripture introduction] The book of Exodus recounts the historical narrative of Israel’s journey from Egyptian enslavement to covenantal deliverance at Mount Sinai. Traditionally, Moses is known of the author of Torah which includes the book of Exodus. He explains in great detail the temptations and resistance he experienced when dealing with the liberated people of Israel. Together they would sojourn with God in the wilderness of Sin.
[Reannounce and read text] Read with me these words about Israel and their journey with God in the wilderness from Exodus 17:1-7. [The preacher reads the Scripture passage out loud.]
[Prayer for illumination] Pray with me as we ask God to direct our hearts and minds into his sacred word. [The minister offers a brief prayer asking the Holy Spirit to bless the understanding of the preacher and hearers as God’s Word is proclaimed.]
[Introduction] Have you ever gone to visit the zoo and witnessed someones child throwing a tantrum? You can hear the high-pitched screaming tantrum along with seeing an overflow of tears rushing down the child’s face. It’s the natural picture that floods our mind when we envision adults doing their best to appease an unhappy child.
I remember a couple of years ago, before we had Lewis. My family and I met some of our friends from Ferndale. It was a scorching hot summer day and Isaac was in the stroller while Lydia was hanging onto Sarah and I’s hand. We were having a day at the Detroit zoo until Lydia became irate because she was thirty, hungry and tired. She cried so much that I decided to carry around a 30-pound toddler for the rest of our time at the zoo. None the less, my arms were on fire afterward. It’s tough work dealing with grumbling children and yet, we wonder why God continues to agree to care about us even when we test and quarrel with him.
Like a child, we grumble and quarrel with God internally and externally because we doubt the Lord actually cares about our needs. Even though we know the Lord has extraordinarily blessed us (i.e., wealth, friendships, and creature comforts). We have everything we need and yet, “Why does our forgetfulness about God’s provisions become an temptation to test and quarrel with the Lord?” [FCF] If God has already given us fountain of eternal life and has satisfied ever creaturely thirst imaginable why do we continue to complain all the time?
We read the Exodus narrative that God intervenes by satisfying his people’s thirst in Exodus 17:1-7 [Scripture bond]. Which is why we must we must come back to the bible. The Scripture says that we no longer to have to complain or test God inorder to receive his water. The Lord is welcoming all to...
[Proposition] Drink from God's Rock and you'll never thirst again.
Nonetheless, we must return to the Exodus narrative because we must discover why...
[Main Point 1] The people thirst for ordinary water. Remember, the entire congregation was moving in stages in the wilderness of Sin to a new location - Rephidim because God commanded them to leave the desert.
Previously, the nation was sojourning with God in the wilderness for forty-years and God richly provided manna from heaven in the morning and quail in the evening. The people never lacked anything while they traveled with God and yet, they constantly complained about it food. In all these years of God taking care of their needs they became forgetful. It is as their vision of the day’s provision was all they could see. They never could remember the yesterday’s meal because their minds were only set on the present.
Which brings trouble for Moses for when they arrived at the new location everyone noticed the same problem.
[Subpoint 1] “There is no water here.”
Can you imagine Moses’ stress of having thousands of people flocking to him? It was so intense that he thought that their abrupt anger would lead to violence. Truly, these people were unhappy campers. They brought all their anger upon Moses since he was the spokesman of the Lord and they hurled all their complaints onto him, but these complaints were not directed at him essentially, but at at God. He is the one who made them leave the wilderness, so in actuality..
[Subpoint 2] Israel is grumbling and testing the Lord.
Even though the people witnessed the ten plagues, the splitting of the Red Sea, the Lord crushing the enemies of Egypt in the water and providing meals days and night. The people had the audacity the question God’s compassion.
To quickly, we quarrel and test the Lord. We believe God doesn’t care about us. We thirst, hunger, and long for something to fill our hearts. When God doesn’t give it to us the minute we demand it. We begin grumbling and questioning the Lord’s faithfulness.
Thankfully, God does not let our emotional tantrums dictate whither or not if he will provide. God is in the business of satisfying our souls. He doesn’t want us to be spiritually dry and neither will he let his people thirst in the Rephidim because...
[Main Point 2] The Lord offers miraculous water.
God instructs Moses to take the staff in the presence of the Elders and meet God at Horeb (Mount Sinai) to release the greatest gift to his people - a fountain of free flowing water. Strike the rock and watch the water come. Moses does as God commanded and the water comes forth from the earth and is given to the people. The grumblers are satisfied because...
[Subpoint 1] There will be water here.
And this water is extraordinary. How many rock do you see shooting out gallons of living water? There is so much that everyone has more than enough. It is what God always does. He gives plenty, because he loves us. On that day, all the anger became silent, the grumbles turned into praise all because...
[Subpoint 2] Israel drinks the water of the Lord.
What a remarkably great day it would have been for Moses. Striking the earth and quenching the thirst of thousands of people. Even though they tested God, the Lord gave them what they needed. But was this water special in this story? Was there anything unique about it? We read in Scripture it was more than ordinary provisions. The rock was a foreshadow of the living water that is to come.
[Subpoint 3] God’s spiritual water satisfies the thirsty.
Paul writes to the church of Corinth about the spiritual implications of the water that was given at Horeb.
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
This precious source of water was given to God’s people to satisfy their desires. Christ is the Rock that brings us joyful life. Look to the story in John’s gospel about the woman at the well. What did Jesus say concerning the water he possessed?
13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Christ is the rock that flows the water of the Holy Spirit. He provides every day and every night. We need only to remember that Christ is the source of water and it is available to all who come to him by faith.
But how do we...
[Proposition] Drink from God's Rock so we’ll never thirst again?
Simply enough we must embrace the source of life (The Cornerstone). It is not found in the wilderness of Sin. That is wherever you and I live today, but our source water that quenches the soul must be in our God.
We need to drink of the refreshing water that comes through the rock of Christ. As the Psalmist said in Psalm 42:1-3
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
Thankfully for you, God has provide you the drink that quenches the soul. You just need to turn toward the well of life. What shall you do in light of this truth? you must trust Christ and live for him in every area of our life.
You drinking the living water at church by committing Christian immersion. You drink the living water at home through silent prayer and Scripture reading. You drink the living water at work through gratitude in the midst of suffering. You drink the living water in public when you generously give to others.
Christ offers this all freely because of the gospel. Without him, we are spiritual dead and dry, but God knew we needed a Savior and Christ came to deliver us from sin and death. Which is why Christ can say...
6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
You did not work for water of salvation. It was freely given because of Christ. He thirst on the cross for our salvation “I thirst” (Jn 19: 28) and was struck open for us, “yet we esteemed him stricken”(Is 53:4) and therefore, the reservoir of grace is overflowing to the ends of the earth (Rev 21:6).
[Conclusion] The invitation I give to you is to never forget what God has and will give to you. In life you will become thirsty in the wilderness of Sin, but remember God’s Rock holds all the water. It’s never going dry!
Come to drink the living water of God and thirst no more.
[Prayer for Transformation] Pray with me as we ask the Lord to transform us. [The minister prays for the congregation to reflect, repent, and renew themselves to Lord and to drink of the salvation of Christ.]