Reflections: Tuesday of Septuagesima

Today’s Reading: Exodus 17:1-7

Daily Lectionary:Job 11:1-20; John 5:19-29

“Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. (Exodus 17:6)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The people were thirsty sinners. They complained they were thirsty. Moses would have threatened to turn the whole nation around and go back to Egypt, but they would have liked that. The issue isn’t their frustration over going without the things God had promised. It’s that in the face of this, they decided Egypt was a better thing to fear, love, and trust in above all things. The word for that is idolatry. The worry behind it is that God won’t deliver on His promises, so we’d better look somewhere else for good gifts. 

So God commanded Moses to hit a rock. This doesn’t make sense unless you’re willing to see Christ in the Old Testament. Paul makes it easy. “For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4). The people were sinners and idolators, so in response God commanded the Rock (which was Christ) to be struck down. That from His side would flow water. That through the water from the Rock, the people would receive and be delivered from death. 

Jesus was crucified for Israel’s sins, and for yours, and from His pierced side poured out blood and water. The Baptism that you receive is a baptism into Christ, the living water, that you would thirst no more, that you would be saved. 

The Old Testament is Christ crucified for sinners, just like the New Testament. The Old Testament, just like the New Testament, doesn’t make sense if you take out Jesus, the Cross, or the ways He delivers that Cross to you. We use Scripture to interpret Scripture, and we start with the simplest truths, that Christ Jesus came to save sinners. Even where everything seems weird and a guy hits a rock with a stick, it’s about Jesus. The people sometimes miss it in their grumbling, wondering if the LORD is among us or not, but God is at work to save His people. The idolaters looked elsewhere, but the LORD still baptized them for salvation. He calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps Israel, and you, too. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Life-imparting heav’nly manna, Stricken rock with streaming side, Heav’n and earth with loud hosanna Worship You, the Lamb who died, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Ris’n, ascended, glorified! Ris’n, ascended, glorified! (“Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor” LSB 534, st.4)

-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.