Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” (Numbers 20:7-8)
Even though the people complained about not having water, at least they didn’t suggest going back to Egypt — right? They didn’t make that suggestion, however, they did question why Moses brought them out of Egypt in the first place. Wow! How soon we forget the bondage, toil and oppression of our adversary and the hopelessness that goes along with being enslaved to another. All it takes, it would seem, is hardship, struggle and what we perceive as lack. In spite of the continual lack of faith, God didn’t abandon them in their concern and frustration. To the contrary, He demonstrated to them why He brought them out of Egypt.
He had previously declared that, in bringing them out of Egypt, He was redeeming them from their bondage because they were His people, not Pharaoh’s. They were not to look to any man, and especially their oppressors, as the source for their provision. And so it was that He instructed Moses to lead them to the Rock that they may bear witness to the power and provision of their God. In this particular case, the word translated as “rock” is סלע sela, which is “an elevated rock” or something that is “lofty, tall.” Furthermore, given that that Hebrew definite article, ה hei, is attached to this word suggests that it was not just “a rock” but a specific rock already known to them.
It is interesting that this word for rock is closely related to another Hebrew term many of us are familiar with — סלה selah, which is “to lift up, to exalt.” You’ll see this term used in many of the Psalms and it is understood to represent a pause; some say as a musical interlude while others believe it is a pause to prompt us to consider what has been said about the Almighty. In light of this latter viewpoint, perhaps, the Almighty was suggesting to the complainers and grumblers to pause; follow Moses to the Rock and see what happens.
So that is the point today: in the midst of our frustration, struggle and sense of losing control in our life, let’s pause and reflect on how the Father has ALREADY provided for us in the midst of our previous trials. In that spirit, we will close with a passage from the Psalms:
Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. from the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah (Psalm 61:1-4)
Blessings and Shalom,