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CHRIST THE ANTITYPE OF THE ROCK OF HOREB.
For they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them: and that rock was Christ.— I Cor. 10 chap. 4 ver.
In this chapter, the apostle dispenses many grave and solemn cautions and warnings to prosessors under the gospel to guard against making shipwreck of their privileges, predicated upon important incidents in the history of the travels of the old church from Egypt, who made shipwreck of their privileges and fell in the wilderness. He speaks of the march of Israel from Egypt under the uplisted banner of God of their be. ing baptized unto Moses, in the cloud, and in the sea, when God gloriously displayed his power in preserving their lives between the water ramparts of the Red Sea, enclosing them on either hand like the walls of a deep dry sepulchre, while the cloud overshadowed them, through the depths of the night, like a closing tombstone; and also their safe landing on Canaan's side, a 'ype of the resurrection; leaving the bodies of their enemies, Pharaoh, and his hosts, to sleep in the deep, till the morning of the last day, when they shall rise without their chariots and their horses. He notices especially the manna, and the water from the smitten rock, as shadowing forth the sacrifice of Christ, and the shedding of his blood. He calls the manna spiritual meat, and the rock he calls a spiritual rock, on account of the spiritual import in their reference to Christ.
lle opens the dark caves of their corruptions and lusts, and the graves that enclosed the
men who had participated in these deliverances and privileges, and who, after all, on account of their idolatry, presumptuous tempting of Christ, and their fornication, were destroyed by serpents, and felled by the plague, to the number of twenty-three thousand in one day. He brings the slain bodies of those old sinners before the New Testament assemblies for their warning, and hangs them up, as it were, over the nipit, the baptistery, and the communion table, to caution coming ages; as the censors of Korah and his men were beat up and made a covering for the altar, to be a sign unto the children of Israel, and a memorial, to keep them from the sin of those men, that they might not share their fate.
I. The smiting of the Rock.
III. The Rock and the drink following. “The rock that followed them."
1. The rock here is called Christ, because it was a type of him. Messiah is the rock of ages to his church; he is the foundation of her hope, firm and abiding, and her protecting shelter in times of danger and of dread. The military armour, the mighty captains, and the gods of Egypt, could constitute no rock like unto this rock. Edom, and Moab, and Philistia, and the seven nations of Canaan had their Gods, and their military prowess; but their rock was too feeble to shelter them from the ire of the true God in the day of his wrath. But the rock of the hope of Israel stood firm and moveless amid the ragings of the Red sea. The gods that made not the heavens and the earth are gods that are far off in the day of trouble ; but the God of Israel is a God at hand, and his arm is strong to deliver. Messiah is the man who forms the shelter of a great rock in a weary land; he not only can shield from the destructive Simoon of burning Arabia, but from the scorchings of a guilty conscience and the fiery judgments of God.Our Lord is also a rock on account of the precious things which ever flow from him, like living streams of water from the mountains of Libanus. The droppings of honey are also from the rock.
We must further notice, before we come to the striking of the rock, the two accounts, given of it: the first in Er d. 17 chap. and the other Num. 20. By comparing these two accounts, it would appear thai the rock was smitten at two diferent times. The first smiting of the rock tauk place, as is supposed, early in the first yuir after their leaving Egypt, and the falling of the ma.lu. The counection of the narratives show that a censiderable length of time must have elapsed between the list and second: the war with Amalic succeeded the first--facing Edom followed ile second. The death of Miriam is recorded in connection with the sec. ond; but she was alive at the first, and but a short time before had led the choir of the daughters of Israel with timbrel in her hand. It is supposed that about thirtyeight years elapsed between the first and second smiting of the rock. It appears that the people murmured bitterly, and cast up to Moses the good living they had in Egypt, and charged him with having brought them to that wilderness to kill them by thirst. This is always the spirit of lackeliling.
Those who ara under the influence of a lacksliding spirit, are went to make complair ts about the burders and injuries occasioned to them by their religion, and in speak hard of the leaders of the church, instesd of cry. ing to God to give them water. It is tempting God to say, “Is the Lord among us?" when his word and works indicating either his pleasure or displeasure tcstify that he is. It does not appear that Meses sinned when he smote the rock the first time; but at the second smiling the servant of God was off his guard, and the meckest of men was provoked to speak unadvisedly with his lips on account of which both he and Aaron were shut out of the promised land. The sin of Moses, it would seem' was his entoring into the quarrel of the people in place of praying for water to quench their thirst. It would appear that the childings of the people had created hard feelings in his mind, so that he had lost the spirit of sympathy with them in their present sufferings. This hardness of feeling stood like a thick cleul between him and the miracle of mercy, which God was about to work for his own glory.
Neither had he done at this time as God had commanded him; instead of speaking to tho rock as he was bidden, he smote it twice, with a manifest agitation of mind. He cast up to the people their rebellion while drawing forth the water.
In this ho sanctified not the god of Israel.
Every true minister of the gospel is a drawer of water to his congregation, from the rock Christ; he · must be clothed in the spirit of meekness from heaven, otherwise the opposition of his people will cnbitter his spirit. God would have us to minister mercy in the spirit of his ovn mercy. The servant of God must not strive,.but be gentle unto all men, in meekness instrueting those that oppose themselves; that they may be taken in the gospel net and recovered from the snare of the devil.
We proceed now to notice the smiting of the Rock.
The smiting of the rock was for the purpose of opening it, that the water might flow. This was a prefiguration of the smiting of the Great Shepherd of the sheep. The shedding of the blood of lambs, and bullocks, and calves, and goats for the space
of four thous. and years, preindicated the passion of our blessed Lord. Their groans under the slaughtering knife, when par
ting with the blood of their lives—the sound of the blood falling into 'the golden basins, and when poured into the flames upon the altar, its rising vapours——the stir and noise of the fesh knives in cutting up the sacrifices, and the piling of the pieces on the fire---all, all, in their own way foretold the necessity of mangling the body and shedding the blood of Messiah, before pardoning mercy could have an open way to slow to sinners, as the water flowed from the smitten rock. The agonies of these dumb brutes pourtrayed the agonics of the soul of Jesus, when with strong cries and tears he offered up himself.
The smiting of a flinty rock for the purpose of obtaining water was a scheme of the Divine Mind, whose ways are higher than our ways. It certainly would have been the last place that Moses would go to seek for water; and on smiting the flinty rock, sparks of firce rather than flowing streams of water might have been expected.
That which eye, either of man or angel, had not seen, what ear had not heard, and what never had. entered the mind of any created intelligence, celestial or terrestrial is, that the smiting of the Shepherd would save the sheep, the condemning of the just would bring the unju unto God, that to make the Son a curse would make us blessed, that by the poverty of Jesus we should be made rich, and that God would make the death of his Son to be our life. Consuming flames of Divine wrath and indignation might have been expected to flash upon the guilty world from every wound inflicted by the thorns and the nails, and the spear; but, to the astonishment of men and angels, a flowing tide of love and mercy most freely ran from every bleeding vein, to wash away the guilt and pollution of human crimes. Zech. 13, 1. According to the determinate council of God,