Today we continue our study in our Names of God series. Last week we looked into the title of our Christ that illustrates to us that He is our Friend. The name we will be studying today relates to this title as well. I say this because a true friend is also a petra in our lives. Petra is the Greek word for Rock.
We are told that Christ is our Petra, our Rock.
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren,
that our fathers were all under the cloud
and all passed through the sea;
and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
and all ate the same spiritual food;
and all drank the same spiritual drink,
for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them;
and the rock was Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4
As Paul shares these words to the church at Corinth he is reminding them of the words in Exodus…
Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “What shall I do to this people? Alittle more and they will stone me.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
Notice that the children of Israel were in this waterless place according to the command of the Lord. It was God that led them to place with no water. However it is not God they cry out to for water. They instead complain and grumble to Moses. So God has brought them to this place. They are here at His command. He purposely has brought them to this place where they were completely and utterly unable to sustain their own life. They were thirsty and they had no water and so they blamed Moses.
Then Moses turns to God and seeks help from the Lord. This is where the Lord has Moses strike the rock and when the rock is struck out flows water. Life is supplied to all those who came to the rock. Their thirst is quenched…
We know that Christ is the rock…
We also know that Moses represents the Law of God.
It was the Law that struck the rock… but when the rock was struck out flowed living water!
Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor.
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!” And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”
It was at the command of the Lord that the children of Israel where brought to this point of great thirst.
It was at the command of the Lord that the Law struck the Rock.
It was at the command of the Lord that life flowed out from this Rock.
Why did it need to be the Jews, the carriers and teachers of the Law of God, who cried “Crucify!”
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith inChrist Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
I see it like this…
In 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 Paul tells us that our fathers were all under the cloud. Have you every been in a fog? Have you ever driven in a fog? The only thing you can see is what is right in front of you. You can’t tell what is up ahead. You can’t see what is to the left or to the right. You can’t see the dangers ahead or around you or coming up behind you. You are only concerned about where you are at that very moment.
We all begin life in this cloud. We also, like the Israelites, find ourselves doing a lot of complaining and grumbling while in this cloud.
So God brought the children of Israel under the cloud and He brought them to the Law.
Now they could see. When we come to the Law we begin to see the consequences of our choices and actions. We begin to see ourselves through the eyes of God, the fog is lifted from our eyes. We start to see past ourselves and then we realize we don’t like what we see. We see our sin. We then see we can’t stop our sin. We see ourselves coming out of the cloud and about to plunge to our death because we now see that the road we are traveling ends at a cliff that we are about to go off.
So we cry out…
Wretched man that I am!
Who will set me free from the body of this death?
and our God says…
“Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.”
Oh precious one, the Rock has already been struck… He doesn’t need to be struck again or over and over. Once was sufficient. Have you come to the Rock? Have you spoke to the Rock that you might have the Living Water?
And if you say yes… yes you have… do you understand what all this Rock provides?
The definition of rock, petra, in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 is: a rock, cliff or ledge, a projecting rock, crag, rocky ground, a rock, a large stone, metaphorically: a man like a rock, by reason of his firmness and strength of soul
A rock is something solid, firm, and lasting. I struggle with keeping plants alive in my flowerbeds. However if I put a beautiful decorative rock in that flowerbed I can count on it to look beautiful and not die on me. This rock will weather the storms. It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 degrees out outside or 10 degrees. The rock doesn’t change. Rain, sleet, or snow the rock remains the same. We call a true friend a “rock”. My husband is my “rock”. I can count on him. I can trust him to hold me up. When we look around the world we can see the reality of the firmness of things that are made from rock.
These buildings have been around for thousands of years and we marvel at them. We marvel at them because when so many things around our world have changed… these building of rock remain.
So a rock is solid, firm, unchanging, lasting… a rock is also a place of protection.
The Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.” Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”
God put Moses in the cleft of the rock… and from the safety of the rock he could see the glory of God. How beautiful it is that just as Moses was hidden in the cleft of this rock… we are hidden in the cleft of THE ROCK.
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed,
then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
And in Christ, in the cleft of our Petra, we too can say, “Oh God show me your glory!“
even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
When in Christ we are in the cleft of the Rock. We are in a place of protection. We are safe. We have a solid foundation. He is firm and their is strength in His soul. And just like the story of the Three Little Pigs if we will build our house out and from the rock and live in the safety of our rock… we will have confidence and boldness to stand against any storm. No matter how many times that big bad wolf comes after us, we will recognize his deception, and no matter how hard he blows… he will never be able to get to us. We are safe in the Rock.