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Hebrews 3:12-19 – OT

03.02.2011

Exodus 17:1-7

I’m a couple days late on this, for which I blame the flu.  Perhaps by some bizarre logic, my mind will be so addled on acetaminophen and pseudoephedrine that today’s posts will be more lucid (or at least more entertaining) than normal.

The Hebrews passage for this week draws from the same OT references as last week, particularly Psalm 95.  So I want to narrow in on one of the references within a reference, the story of the Moses bringing water forth from the rock. 

As is common in the Old Testament, the key to understanding the significance of the story is to see that it is about Jesus.  The people were dying of thirst, so God tells Moses to strike the rock, which will pour forth water to slake the thirst of the people.  Paul clarifies that the rock is Christ (the solid foundation on Whom we build our faith), and that when struck, he pours forth living water.

However, we can compare this story to the one 40 years later, when the next generation was preparing to enter the Promised Land but needed water.  Like their parents, they whined about having no water.  God again instructs Moses to go to the rock (the same one as before?) and speak to it to bring forth water.  He doesn’t have to strike the rock since it was done 40 years before.  As the Rock, Jesus needs only to be struck once, after which asking and speaking will give access to the living water. 

The author of Hebrews knows what he’s doing.  He’s not just citing familiar Moses stories to compare and contrast that prophet with Jesus.  He’s choosing specific stories from the life of Moses, that most revered figure in Jewish history, and employing them to highlight the fulfilling nature of Christ and the perils in rejecting God’s provision through Him.

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