It was on this day that Moses struck the rock in order to provide water for the people in the wilderness. This is recorded in Exodus 17:
And the Lord said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. (Exodus 17:5-6)
The miracle that occurred here was in direct response to the people’s question, “Is the Lord among us or not?” In answer to that, God supplied them with enough water to satisfy 2 – 3 million people, according to some estimates, in the desert.
The setting for this miracle is quite dramatic. There were millions of hot, thirsty, irritated people in a dry, barren wilderness with no sign of water, only rocks. It is in that setting that God chose to do what only He can do. And it is a lone rock that stands out among the rest that the Creator points them to. Then, amazingly, He tells Moses to strike this rock with a stick and out of it issues a more than ample supply of water, for them and for their livestock.
From time to time, all of us find ourselves in a place where we feel as if we’re wandering in the wilderness. There are no signs of life, and nothing to be encouraged by. It is in those times, we might find ourselves asking, “Father, where are You? Are You with me, or not? Have I come all this way just to die, here and now?” When we’re in the midst of a difficult situation, it’s hard to imagine that all He has to do is breathe and an impassable sea reveals a path that leads to freedom. It’s difficult to imagine when we’re going through trials, that all He has to do is command someone to strike a rock, and all our needs come gushing out. Getting us to the place that we do believe He can and will do these things is why we are tested by the wilderness.
When we were in school, the things we were taught ended up being on a test. During the test we weren’t allowed to raise our hands and ask the teacher to give us the answer to a question we were unsure of. We weren’t allowed to talk to our neighbor to get the answer to our question, either, because the teacher wanted to see what we have learned and what we haven’t learned. Only after the test was over, would the teacher review things with us, particularly those things that we missed. The point is, when it seems that our Father isn’t speaking and the heavens are brass, it might be that He is giving us a test. When we’re in the wilderness, perhaps it’s the Father’s way of asking, “Are you going to trust Me?” And if that’s the case it might be that, during the test – even though it seems as if He is nowhere to be found – He might be closer than He’s ever been.
He wants us to learn to trust Him in all circumstances, now, because there are greater tests coming. Those weekly tests we were given in school were small in comparison to the exams we had to take later. That’s why our teachers wanted us to realize what we hadn’t learn just as much as discovering what we had learned. They knew that, at the end of the year, there was a greater test coming but that’s why they were there every day – to teach us, to guide us and encourage us to keep trying.
We may feel that we are wilderness but we must remember that He’s never going to leave or forsake us. To the contrary. He’s always going to bring us to the rock that will supply us with the living water we need to sustain us through each and every trial. Paul addressed this in his letter to the church in Corinth.
“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Messiah.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)
Messiah said that He would always be with us, even until the end of the age. That means He is with us, even when all we can see is desert and rocks.