I love the way that the Bible completes Itself. What do I mean by this? I mean that a man living on a continent speaking one language, can be moved by God to write a passage of Scripture and then, thousands of years later, a different man, living on a different continent, speaking a different language, can be inspired by God to write a passage of Scripture that explains the previous one. This is proof that God is the author of the Bible. If men were to try to do this, they would fail miserably because of the meticulous detail that would be involved. We make mistakes because we are human and all of the loose ends would not be perfectly tied. Books written in the same language, on the same continent, during the same time period, with collaborating authors end up having loose ends. I want to look at a passage inspired by God and written by Moses and then jump to another passage, written by Paul, to see the explanation of the first.
The first passage of Scripture is written by Moses in Exodus 17:1-16. This is after God has delivered the people of Israel from Egyptian captivity and now Moses is leading them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. I just want to lay out a few of the facts so that we can better understand what Paul says when he explains this passage.
- The Passover was initiated
- The people were saved from death
- They were delivered from captivity
- Now they are on the road to the Promised Land
- The Rock is struck and living water is given
- The people are then attacked by Amalek (immediately after they drink the living water)
- They have to fight for their lives against the enemy
- When they depend upon God, they win the battle
- They are guaranteed victory if they depend upon God while fighting the battle
- This is a war fought from generation to generation.
If you are a student of the Bible then you know that the things written about in the Torah and Old T. are “shadows of the good things to come”, as the author of Hebrews says. In other words, we have a living flesh and blood example in the Old T. of a spiritual Truth that is explained in the New T. This passage is a prime example. What is the meaning of all of this? Why is it important to me as a Christian living in the 21st Century? I am glad that you asked because a man living in the 1st Century explained it for us.
In the New T. epistles to the Gentile churches in Corinth and Galatia, St. Paul explains who the Rock of Exodus 17 represents, who Amalek represents, and what the water represents. All of these things are crucial to understanding the Christian life and the battle which every Christian faces on a daily basis. Remember, Amalek is an enemy for every generation (even ours).
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. (I Corinthians 10)
Jesus Christ is the Rock that was stuck and then the living water flowed out. Jesus, Himself, explains what the living water is in the Gospel of John.
37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive ; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7)
The living water is the Holy Spirit, which Jesus sent to the disciples after He had been “struck” on the cross and ascended to heaven. Are you starting to see the picture come to life?
The Bible teaches us that we are born as slaves to sin. We are held captive (like the Hebrews in Egypt) until someone delivers us. Deliverance was made possible by Christ’s death and resurrection, setting us free from sin’s death grip on us. From the time we are set free until we make it to the “Promised Land” (heaven) we have an enemy who fights tooth and nail with us, the flesh (Amalek). He is an enemy to every generation but he can be defeated when we depend upon God for deliverance. In Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia, he helps explain how we can be victorious over the flesh.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5)
Here what the flesh looks like. If you evaluate your life based on this passage, you can determine one of 3 things; 1) you are still enslaved to sin and need deliverance (salvation) 2) you have been set free but you do not depend upon God for deliverance (victory) 3) you have been set free and you do depend upon God for victory through obedience to the Holy Spirit.
The Flesh: (actions are evident)
- immorality (any form of sexuality outside of marriage, including the thought life)
- impurity (result of the previous sin)
- sensuality (unbridled lust, you are controlled by desire instead of being in control, like a dog in heat)
- idolatry (anything that sits above God in your life, can even be noble things like family)
- sorcery (witchcraft, horoscopes, wigi boards, tarot cards, etc.)
- enmities (hatred of others, leads to the next sin)
- strife (verbal arguments causing divisions)
- jealousy (envious rivalry, I have to one up you in everything)
- outburst of anger (boiling/overflowing passion, result of jealousy)
- disputes (fights as a result of one blowing up at another, see previous sin)
- dissensions (division, small groups forming against other small groups)
- factions (divisions over diversity of opinions, I believe this, well I believe that, neither one bothers to check what God has to say on the subject)
- envying (corrupted by wanting what is not yours)
- drunkenness (intoxicated leading to flawed judgment, can be with any substance, ex. drugs)
- carousing (nocturnal entertainment)
- and other things like these (it is a long list)
Do any of these qualities describe your way of life? Are you enslaved by any of these sins (I just cannot help it, it is the way that I am)? If you are, there is good news, there is hope for you. Jesus Christ died to pay for your sins. He resurrected to set you free from your slavery to sin. He will give you the Holy Spirit which will guide you to victory over these sins. Here are the qualities of the person who has been set free and is obedient to the Holy Spirit.
Led by the Holy Spirit:
- Patience (with the people around you, not bickering and fighting)
- Kindness (doing good to those around you, even when they do not return the favor)
- Self-control (saying no to temptation and sin)
Here are the facts.
- Deliverance from slavery is available
- The Passover lamb has been sacrificed (Jesus Christ)
- The Rock has been struck
- The living water flows (Holy Spirit)
- The enemy is attacking (the flesh)
- We can have victory by trusting in God (obeying the Holy Spirit)
- We will fight the enemy until we reach the Promised Land
Where do you stand in the picture? Are you still in captivity to the flesh and sin? Are you battling the flesh but losing? Are you marching to the Promised Land with victory after victory? The choice is yours. Please choose wisely. God bless.