Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Speak to the Rock

waterfall over rock

by Dennis Pollock

The key to the victorious life in Christ is LIFE – divine life, coursing through our spirits, minds and bodies and bringing blessing not only to ourselves but to those around us. This life is given by the Holy Spirit. Jesus referred to this when He spoke of "rivers of living water" which would flow from within those who believe on Him.

When we are born again through faith in Christ, we receive this life. John writes: "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12). Once this life has entered us it does not come and go, but the expression and release of this life do very much ebb and flow. We have our anointed times and our dry times; we feel the presence of the Spirit powerfully upon us at times, and at other times we feel nothing at all. One of the greatest lessons any Christian can ever learn is how to receive fresh releases of this life when things go dry and the Spirit's power and presence are no longer evident.

We discover the answer to our need for fresh anointing in the Old Testament story of Moses and the children of Israel while they were in the wilderness. Shortly after they were liberated from Egypt and began their journey through the wilderness they ran out of water. They complained to Moses, demanding that their leader provide them water. The need was genuine enough, but what they didn't seem to get was that the same God who was able to part the Red Sea and deliver them from the Egyptians would not find it difficult to provide water for them as well.

Time to Pray

Moses took this need to the Lord in prayer. The situation was becoming desperate. It is important that we see that although God pledges to meet the needs of His children, He has never found it compulsory to satisfy those needs the moment they arise. He seems to feel that it is good for us to do without for a season, that our faith may be tested, and that He may be glorified when He does come through for us in our hour of desperation.

God tells Moses to take his rod an go to the "the rock" in Horeb. This rod was nearly always associated with the miracles God wrought through Moses. God is not merely going to show Moses where there is a nice spring or brook where they can get water; He is planning to do a miracle. Rationalists like to try to give a natural explanation for the miracles of the Bible. They convert miracles into scientifically plausible phenomena, which although rare, have no supernatural basis whatever. In this case there is no explanation other than God's miraculous power. There is no scientific basis for rocks turning into gushing fountains.

God tells Moses to strike the rock, and promises that water will pour forth from it. Moses does as he is told, and God does what He promised. A people numbering in the millions are amply provided for by the gushing waters pouring forth from this massive rock in the midst of the dry wilderness.

Here we go again!

Fast forward around thirty-eight years. Many of the original grumblers are dead and a new generation has taken their place. Israel runs into a similar situation, running out of water and complaining to Moses about it. (Apparently murmuring, complaining parents produce murmuring, complaining children.) God hasn't changed. He still allows His children to be tested by desperate need. One reality you may find a little disconcerting is that, as a child of God through faith in Jesus, you will never outgrow testing. It doesn't matter how much you pray, how many times you have read through the Bible, or how mature you think you may be. You who experienced tests and trials in your twenties will also have them in your seventies. And one of the major tests we often face is the experience of severe need combined with God's apparent unconcern. Of course He is concerned, but He will allow you to go through a season where He seems mighty silent, and watches to see your response.

Israel's response was pretty pathetic. They spoke of how well they had it in Egypt and moaned about "this evil place" they were now in. Moses did as he normally did in such a situation: he fell on his face and sought a word from the Lord. As before, God tells Moses to go to the rock. This is quite a mystery. Moses isn't told any identifying characteristics; he's just told to go to the rock, which must have been a pretty large and impressive boulder. But this time he is not to strike it. He is merely to speak to the rock, and God promises that the waters will again flow.

Moses blows it. He loses his temper, calls Israel a bunch of rebels, and strikes the rock rather than talking to it. God graciously gives His people water in spite of their leader's disobedience but Moses will pay a high price for his offense. He is told that he will never enter that promised land he has been looking forward to for nearly 40 years. He will only get a glimpse of it, but his feet will never touch it.

Written for us

In the New Testament we read that "all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition" (1 Corinthians 10:11). This is not just an interesting story about Israel's unbelief and God's faithfulness. There is a tremendous revelation here that unlocks the mystery of how we can live a life filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us that the people of Israel, "drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:4). The truth is, Israel never needed to worry about water. This mysterious water-gushing rock followed them all around.  But this was more than a rock. It served as a symbol of Jesus Christ. Just as Israel's physical need for water was supplied by this rock, so today our spiritual need for living water – the filling of the Holy Spirit – will always be found in Jesus.

But what about this business of striking and speaking to the rock? Does that have any relevance for us? It does indeed. Just as the rock initially gave forth its water through striking, so Jesus was struck for us at the cross. It was, in a sense, done by Moses, as it was the law of God given through Moses that condemned all men as sinners and made the cross a necessity for Jesus, if sinful men and women like me and you were to be forgiven and allowed to live in heaven with God forever. Christ is the Rock that was struck, not for His own sake, but for ours.

The cross of Jesus was a one time event. There is no need for a second crucifixion. Hebrews tells us, "we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). Now that our Heavenly Rock has been struck, what is left for us? How shall we partake of the living waters He has promised? As the story of Moses foretold, we must learn to speak to our Rock. In speaking to Christ Jesus, the Rock of our salvation, we shall find abundance of life and we shall flourish spiritually all of our days.

What do we say?

Admittedly talking to a rock seems a bit peculiar. What does one say to a rock? In our case we come before Jesus Christ, our Rock firstly with a simple request. When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, He told her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water" (John 4:10). This tells us two things. Jesus is God's designated living water distributer, and we are supposed to ask Him for these waters.

There is no one else on earth who can give you the rich fullness of the Holy Spirit but Jesus. No other religious leader, living today or dead for centuries, can fill you with God's Holy Spirit. No amount of positive thinking, yoga, meditation, or self-help philosophy can do what He can do for you. We need to know: 1. The gift of God (the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives) and 2. Who gives that gift (the Lord Jesus Christ). He has the exclusive rights.

In the Old Testament God declares, "For My people… have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters…" (Jeremiah 2:123). Jesus has become unto us that Fountain. He declares, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37,38). He is the Rock that follows us (actually lives inside of us), always ready and willing to supply all our spiritual needs. We come to Him, not to strike Him but to speak to Him. We call upon Jesus for the filling of the Holy Spirit.

To expect life and anointing on any other basis than asking and believing is to put yourself under the law and bring a curse upon yourself rather than a blessing. Some people believe reading the Bible automatically equates to the Spirit-filled life. As valuable as it is for us to read the Bible, it is not Bible reading that fills us; it is a Person and that Person is Jesus Christ. Jesus declares: "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." (John 5:39,40). When we feed on God's word, which we should do continually, we do it for the purpose of knowing Jesus better, and loving and trusting Him more. We do not suppose that five chapters each day gives us a certain measure of anointing, and that if we read ten chapters, the anointing will double. Or if we really want an extra measure of power, we will read twenty chapters and our anointing will multiply proportionately. No, we read God's word to feed upon Jesus Christ, who is the Bread of Life to us. As our faith in Him grows, the anointing of the Spirit will increase.

Not a Reward

Nor do we suppose that the filling of the Holy Spirit is God's reward for us living an especially righteous life. Thus if we have a good day we can expect a rich anointing but if we lose our patience in the morning, there will be no anointing for the rest of the day. For sure, God wants us to live holy and godly lives, but the waters of life are always given on the basis of faith, not our own goodness.

Our speaking to our Rock involves more than mere request. It involves praise and confession. We praise Jesus for His role as Fountain of Living Waters, Bread of Life, True Vine, and Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. All of these titles refer to Jesus' office as the One who bestows a continual supply of divine life to those who are His. All of God's grace gifts are based upon promises, and we have the sure and certain promise by Jesus that those who come to Him will never hunger and those who believe on Him will never thirst. He has said, "He that believes on Me… out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water."

One might wonder, "Why has God made us to need fresh oil? Why the need for continual fillings and re-fillings? Why not give it all to us upon salvation? If Christ should do this for us, we would go through life independently, never feeling our desperate need for the Savior. But the abiding life is the dependent life. We will never outgrow our need to come back to the Fountain and receive fresh grace, fresh anointing, and fresh power. The same disciples who were filled with the Holy Spirit in the second chapter of Acts prayed for boldness in Acts 4, and we are told, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…"

As we confidently approach Jesus on the basis of His promises, praising Him daily as the Source of divine life in us, we shall not be disappointed. Our Savior has a bountiful supply of living waters for all who call upon Him. We only need to speak to the Rock.

 

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