Battling Spiritually Clashing with the Unseen part 13 Eph. 6 12
Satan Is a Decided Fact
We Struggle For we wrestle
We Speculate not against flesh and blood,
In Exodus 17 we see a series of events and a variety of slipups, blunders and personal miscalculations. So how does a waterless situation play into a wrestling match with invisible forces? How often do we live blight less and scarred by a scarcity of refreshing interaction with our rock.
God directed Israel into the wilderness for testing and of course the evil forces were there to stir everything up. Not only did the people fail to grow from the test, they became insensible. They didn’t just miss the point, they we’re totally imperceptible, oblivious, numb and hardhearted. It’s scary to think that we can actually become comatose to God and his ways and dealings in us.
When they should have become delicate and sensitive to the Lord’s goodness, faithfulness, and mighty activity in their lives they struck out at God in anger, hatred and rejection. We may ascribe to the corporate pyscho-babble grist that proclaims that depression is chemical imbalance or circumstantial conflict. I’m not suggesting that going without water for many days and being in a wilderness of conditions isn’t a downer. But underneath the skin of their troubles was a fuming rage with God who let it happen.
Where Israel could have jetted through the wilderness in less then two weeks, instead through stubborn rebellion, they spent 40 years wandering and making it they’re necropolis.
Wandering is a state of being rootless, unsettled and homeless. Traveling constantly, carrying your supplies on your back and having food drop out of the sky is a very peculiar life style. But then again it was scheduled for only a couple of weeks. How strange to make it a total life style choice. This choice was based not on God’s purpose but on human resistance, corporate defiance, and an adamant refusal to surrender to the Lord.
Our Inadequacy Exodus 17:1-7
The Scarcity of Water v.1
Their Location They pitched in Rephidim
Riphidim is a word in the Hebrew, which means discouragement and despondency; it literally means hanging limp, the condition of being in a state of such despair so as to be unable to react sensibly. Riphidim signifies an extension of slackness or limpness.
We need to be alert when we hang out in an area, which can get us down, dejected and gloomy. Once our feelings start unraveling we drain our supplies into an emotional hypothermia.
Their Lack There was no water for the people to drink
I get the impression that the group was heading to an area in the arid dessert where they thought there was going to be some water. And yes God was leading them there, allowing a situation of tension and tautness.
This is the crux of vulnerability to the invisible attacks of dark forces. But it’s also the treasure trove of feeling the deep embrace of God’s incredible love and forgiveness. Of all the mysteries of prayer there is no greater adventure then getting our back to the wall where everything is unraveling unless the Lord intervenes.
Their Leading the Israel journeyed according to commandment
of the Lord
That the Lord lead them there is crucial. Not only guided but commanded them to the spot. Jesus was driven by the Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted. Driven is a strong suggestion. It means compelled, pushed and even forced.
The Sarcasm Over Water v.2-3
Their Criticism Give us water that we may drink
Their Complaining the people murmured against Moses
Amnesiac and said, wherefore is this that thou hast
brought us up out of Egypt
Accusative to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst
C.H.M. says: “They had just seen bread descending from heaven to feed six hundred thousand people in the wilderness; and now they are “ready to stone” Moses for bringing them out into the wilderness to kill them with thirst.
Nothing can exceed the desperate unbelief and wickedness of the human heart save the supra-bounding grace of God. In that grace alone can any one find relief under the growing sense of his evil nature which circumstances tend to make manifest.
Had Israel been transported directly from Egypt to Canaan, they would not have made such sad exhibitions of what the human heart is, and, as a consequence, they would not have proved such admirable examples or types for us; but their forty years’ wandering in the desert furnishes us with a volume of warning, admonition, and instruction, fruitful beyond conception.
From it we learn, amongst many other things, the unvarying tendency of the heart to distrust God. They would rather trust in Pharaoh and the empire of Egypt rather then God.”
That’s like saying we would rather trust our fate to Osama Bin Laden or Adolf Hitler or Satan himself rather then the Lord. We would rather lean upon a cobweb of human resources than upon the arm of an omnipotent, all wise, and infinitely gracious loving God.
Everything jumps out of perspective and we lose objectivity. The smallest cloud can hide from our view the light of His perfect expression.
The Spirit of God terms this: “an evil heart of unbelief,” which exhibits itself ready to “depart from the living God.”
The Severity Over Water V.4
Pressured to Prayer
The Unction And Moses cried unto the LORD
Serving the Lord in helping people with there problems is not for the cowardly. Relationship is not for the spineless. We need to hang in there with people, because as strange as it may be, when you release someone from a painful trap or dark dungeon of despair they may turn on you and ruthlessly rend you.
Again, it’s all to get us in touch and in tune with the one we owe our every breath to. As the Psalmist discloses: it is good that I’ve been afflicted that I might learn Your ways.
“Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to the tremendous difficulties” & “The anvil is not afraid of the hammer” C.H.S.
The Uncertainty saying, what shall I do unto this people?
How to motivate others for the Lord, how to encourage, stimulate and provoke each other to love and good works should be our prayerful study.
The Uproar they be almost ready to stone me
One of the most amazing ironies is that followers of Christ can turn on each other with savage ferocity. Galatians warns of chewing on each other to the point of cannibalistic ingestion. What a tragedy to break each other down with self-centered narcissism and empty conceit.
Patience of Providence v.5
The Direction And the LORD said unto Moses,
Appear Go on before the people,
Assign and take with thee of the elders of Israel
Arbitrate and thy rod, wherewith you smote the river,
take in your hand, and go.
The direction of the Lord is that we need to avoid reverting to hiding or avoidance. Our natural tendency is to become an escape artist, crawl into a hole or evade confrontation. We need to run into the roar of the lion and not be intimidated by the accusers snarls. We’re to overcome evil with good and bathe every situation with the power that comes from prayer. And when it doesn’t seem to work, keep praying, keep standing up for the right values, and take the high road of character and humble confidence. Then pray more and meditate on the voice of the Lord seeking His perspective.
Presence of Provision v.6
Specific Spot Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb;
Horeb is the Hebrew word for destitute, waste, dry place, and devastation. This is where often we see the Lord best.
As Spurgeon rehearsed this thought often.
“What do I not owe to the hammer and the anvil, the fire and the file? It’s the stroke of the sacred hammer and chisel that shall have been given…”
Severe Strike and thou shalt smite the rock,
And what do we owe to the smiting of Christ our rock and source of all. Isaiah 53 says of Christ: “Smitten of God and afflicted…by His stripes we are healed.” It’s solemn to realize and keep in view that it is our sin that led to the smiting of the rock.
Jonathan Edwards wrote: “Christ, when he was in his passion, was in the hands of justice, he was God’s prisoner for believers, and it pleased God to bruise him, and put him to grief. God brought him into a low state; He was humbled beyond above all, and when he raised him from the dead, he set him at liberty, declaring that it was enough. And now there is free admittance for all sinners into God’s favor through this risen Savior, everything against us has been dealt with and removed. It is enough done, and God is satisfied; as he has declared and sealed to it by the resurrection of Christ, who is alive, and lives for evermore, and is making intercession for poor, distressed souls that come unto him”.
Significant Solution and there shall come water out of it that the people may drink
Jesus said: But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:14
Drinking water from the rock is a symbol of the indwelling Spirit of God. We drink as we depend on His filling in our personal challenges and tests. Jesus was struck as he took our sin on the cross. God is satisfied; the crime of sin has been legally expiated. The Spirit has been poured out on all who receive Jesus.
Scrupulous Submission And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
Particulars of the Place v.7
Testing And he called the name of the place Massah
Strife and Meribah,
Nagging Harassment because of the chiding of the children of Israel
Nasty Hostility and because they tempted the LORD
Negligent Harshness saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?
The amazing grace and crazy love of God is that He answers our prayers and meets our needs, not based on our performance but centered in His compassionate mercy.
It’s not that the people we’re the only harassing nuisances but Moses response was complicit. The people griped about the lack of provision, Moses moaned about the stupidity of the people. They all tempted the Lord accusing Him of abandoning them.
We only seem to learn through pressure to depend not on our resources in self and our personal bankruptcy, but to turn to Jesus and the filling of His Spirit to learn:
Our Empowerment Ephesians 3: 14-17
Stimulate with Your Empowering Love
It’s Provoking For this cause ( as I think of this great plan )
Bring in their lives an arousing invigoration of your grace Infiltrate with your provocative compassion
It’s Pleading I bow my knees unto ( I fall on my knees )
Motivate with intensity in the enduring qualities of your mercy. Instill dependence in your power
It’s Person the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
Kindle with the fuel of your power and rouse in reliance. Connect in Your relational interaction
It’s Portrayal Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named
Incite in increased comprehension to your interconnecting beauty. Attach to our heavenly identity
It’s Possibilities That he would grant you
Intensify the penetration into our unique individuality in you. Expand us in your infinite possibilities
It’s Potential according to the riches of his glory
( out of the glorious riches of your resources)
Fire-up the vision of the wealth & wonder of your glory. Enrich us in Your glorious infiltration
It’s Power to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man
( he will enable you to know the strength of the Spirit’s inner re-enforcement )
Instigate inner empowerment by your Spirit unleashed. Strengthen us in Your Spirit’s indwelling & filling
It’s Presence That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith
Infiltrate with complete access with spiritual filling. Characterize us with an addiction to faith in Christ
It’s Planting that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Obsess & consume in a compulsive dependence on Christ. Saturate in a deep stability of unconditional love
Inundate in drenching oversupply of your unrestricted passion
Christ’s Love v.18-19
The Dimensions of Love May be able to comprehend
Develop a growing perception in the immeasurable extent of Your Love
The Dependents of Love with all saints
Advance us to crave Your love & reveal our incapacity without Your love working in us
The Degree of Love what is the breadth,
Explain the extent of compass in the broadness of Your love
The Duration of Love and length,
Fill our hearts in the extent of Your love and duration of continual durability
The Depth of Love and depth,
Energize our merciful compassion in the intensity of feelings of Your forgiving love
The Distinction of Love and height;
Instill a realization in the importance and excellence of Your love
The Discernment of Love To know the love of Christ
Prosper our perception in the recognition and comprehension of Your Love
The Dynamic of love which passes knowledge
Jesus promised, I will never leave you or forsake you. We drink and are filled with His Spirit not based on our perfections but on His provision, promise and presence in us. We are only expected to agree with Him about our failure, weakness and need.
This is submitting ourselves to God, resisting the devil, drawing near to God, who dwells in us, and recognizing the reality that He has already drawn near to us, as He lives to meet our every need and desire with Himself.