1. THE PEOPLE MURMUR AGAIN
a. How did the children of Israel murmur against Moses when they arrived at Rephidim? Why? Exodus 17:1–3.
“The Lord directed their course where there was no water, to prove them, to see if, after receiving so many evidences of His power, they had learned to turn to Him in their affliction, and had repented of their past rebellious murmurings against Him. They had charged Moses and Aaron with selfish motives in bringing them from Egypt to kill them and their children with hunger, that they might be enriched with their possessions. In doing this the Israelites ascribed to man that which they had received unmistakable evidence was from God alone, whose power is unlimited. These wonderful manifestations of the power of God He would have them ascribe to Him alone, and magnify His name upon the earth. . . . If they would not glorify God in their trials and adversity, in their travels through the wilderness to the Canaan in prospect, while God was continually giving them unmistakable evidence of His power and glory, and His care for them, they would not magnify His name and glorify Him when established in the land of Canaan, surrounded with blessings and prosperity.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 107.
2. GOD PROVIDES
a. What did Moses do after he had heard their complaints? Exodus 17:4; Jeremiah 29:12.
“The Lord says, ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble.’ Psalm 50:15. He invites us to present to Him our perplexities and necessities, and our need of divine help. He bids us be instant in prayer. As soon as difficulties arise, we are to offer to Him our sincere, earnest petitions. By our importunate prayers we give evidence of our strong confidence in God. The sense of our need leads us to pray earnestly, and our heavenly Father is moved by our supplications.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 172.
b. To what place, and with what specific instructions, did God send Moses for water? How was water miraculously provided? Exodus 17:5, 6.
“In distress Moses cried to the Lord, ‘What shall I do unto this people?’ He was directed to take the elders of Israel and the rod wherewith he had wrought wonders in Egypt, and to go on before the people. And the Lord said unto him, ‘Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.’ He obeyed, and the waters burst forth in a living stream that abundantly supplied the encampment. Instead of commanding Moses to lift up his rod and call down some terrible plague, like those on Egypt, upon the leaders in this wicked murmuring, the Lord in His great mercy made the rod His instrument to work their deliverance.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 298.
c. What other names did Moses give to that place, and why did he rename it? Exodus 17:7 (margin).
“In their thirst the people had tempted God, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us, or not?’—‘If God has brought us here, why does He not give us water as well as bread?’ The unbelief thus manifested was criminal, and Moses feared that the judgments of God would rest upon them. And he called the name of the place Massah, ‘temptation,’ and Meribah, ‘chiding,’ as a memorial of their sin.”—Ibid.
3. SYMBOLS OF CHRIST
a. Of whom is the smitten rock a type? 1 Corinthians 10:4.
“Moses smote the rock, but it was the Son of God who, veiled in the cloudy pillar, stood beside Moses, and caused the life-giving water to flow. Not only Moses and the elders, but all the congregation who stood at a distance, beheld the glory of the Lord; but had the cloud been removed, they would have been slain by the terrible brightness of Him who abode therein.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 298.
b. In what other sense is Jesus referred to as a rock? Psalm 94:22; Mark 12:10.
“In infinite wisdom, God chose the foundation stone, and laid it Himself. He called it ‘a sure foundation.’ The entire world may lay upon it their burdens and griefs; it can endure them all. With perfect safety they may build upon it. Christ is a ‘tried stone.’ Those who trust in Him, He never disappoints. He has borne every test. He has endured the pressure of Adam’s guilt, and the guilt of his posterity, and has come off more than conqueror of the powers of evil. He has borne the burdens cast upon Him by every repenting sinner. In Christ the guilty heart has found relief. He is the sure foundation. All who make Him their dependence rest in perfect security.
“By connection with Christ, the living stone, all who build upon this foundation become living stones. Many persons are by their own endeavors hewn, polished, and beautified; but they cannot become ‘living stones,’ because they are not connected with Christ. Without this connection, no man can be saved. Without the life of Christ in us, we cannot withstand the storms of temptation.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 598, 599.
c. What is symbolized by the water that flowed from the smitten rock? John 4:10–14; 7:37–39.
“He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 195.
4. THE BATTLE WITH AMALEK
a. What danger next threatened the people of Israel? Exodus 17:8.
“Because of Israel’s disobedience and departure from God, they were allowed to be brought into close places and to suffer adversity; their enemies were permitted to make war with them, to humble them and lead them to seek God in their trouble and distress. ‘Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.’ This took place immediately after the children of Israel had given themselves up to their rebellious murmurings and to unjust, unreasonable complaints against their leaders whom God had qualified and appointed to lead them through the wilderness to the land of Canaan.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 106, 107.
b. How did God defeat the Amalekites? Exodus 17:9–12.
“When the Amalekites came to attack the camp of Israel in the wilderness, Moses knew that his people were not prepared for the encounter. He sent Joshua with a band of soldiers to meet the enemy, while he himself, with Aaron and Hur, took his position on a hill overlooking the battlefield. There the man of God laid the case before Him who alone was able to give them the victory. With hands outstretched toward heaven, Moses prayed earnestly for the success of the armies of Israel. It was observed that while his hands were reaching upward, Israel prevailed against the foe; but when through fatigue they were allowed to fall, Amalek prevailed. Aaron and Hur stayed up the hands of Moses until victory, full and complete, turned upon the side of Israel and their enemies were driven from the field.
“This instance was to be a lesson to all Israel to the close of time that God is the strength of His people. When Israel triumphed, Moses was reaching his hands toward heaven and interceding in their behalf; so when all the Israel of God prevail, it is because the Mighty One undertakes their case and fights their battles for them. Moses did not ask or believe that God would overcome their foes while Israel remained inactive. He marshals all his forces and sends them out as well prepared as their facilities can make them, and then he takes the whole matter to God in prayer. Moses on the mount is pleading with the Lord, while Joshua with his brave followers is below, doing his best to meet and repulse the enemies of Israel and of God.”—Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 530, 531.
5. AMALEK IS OVERCOME
a. After the Amalekites had been defeated, what sentence was pronounced upon them? Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 25:17–19.
“The wonders wrought by Moses before the Egyptians were made a subject of mockery by the people of Amalek, and the fears of surrounding nations were ridiculed. They had taken oath by their gods that they would destroy the Hebrews, so that not one should escape, and they boasted that Israel’s God would be powerless to resist them. They had not been injured or threatened by the Israelites. Their assault was wholly unprovoked. It was to manifest their hatred and defiance of God that they sought to destroy His people. . . . When the men of Amalek fell upon the wearied and defenseless ranks of Israel, they sealed their nation’s doom. The care of God is over the weakest of His children. No act of cruelty or oppression toward them is unmarked by Heaven. Over all who love and fear Him, His hand extends as a shield; let men beware that they smite not that hand; for it wields the sword of justice.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 300.
b. What should we remember when we are persecuted in a similar manner today as was Israel by the Amalekites? Matthew 5:11, 12. How does God regard those who persecute their own brethren?
“If God thus punished the cruelty of a heathen nation, how must He regard those who, professing to be His people, will make war upon their own brethren who are worn and wearied laborers in His cause?”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 245.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How is trial and adversity a test for us today, as it was for the Israelites?
2. When we pray earnestly in difficult situations, what does this reveal?
3. What is the key to becoming a living stone?
4. What is sometimes the cause of us being brought into difficult places?
5. What sin sealed Amalek’s doom? How are we sometimes guilty of the same sin?