Summary: Paul assures us that the things which happened to Israel are types or examples for us. Like the Israelites, Christians are strangers and pilgrims on earth who enjoy great spiritual mercies. The children of Israel had the types or shadows; we have the subs
Intro: Paul assures us twice in vv. 6 & 11 that these things which happened to Israel are types or examples for us. Like the Israelites, Christians are strangers and pilgrims on earth who enjoy great spiritual mercies (I Pet. 2:11). The children of Israel had the types or shadows; we have the substance or realities!
I. THE MOVING CLOUD (v.1). There was the cloud of shelter by day, and pillar of fire by night as their protection and guide (Exod. 13:21). The cloud was a symbol and evidence of God’s presence, which in itself is a mystery. When it moved they moved. It seemed to move easily, but no power on earth could move it. This cloud is a suggestive emblem of God’s word! They were all under it, and God was in it, and all were baptized into the name of their leader and law-giver – Moses (v.2), a type of Christ himself.
Israel was led by the God-created cloud, just as we can be by His word. For Israel to move without the cloud was to go in their own name, wisdom, and strength, which would result in confusion and failure. This is what happens to us when we choose our way, and act without God’s direction and authority. Since they believed and followed the cloud, they were able to pass through the Red Sea upon dry ground (Exod. 14:29). Since we have believed in God’s word, we have passed from death into life, from sin’s bondage into the liberty of the sons of God. Keep on believing.
II. THE DAILY MANNA (v.3). Cf. Exo. 16:31; Psa. 78:24-25. Those who follow God’s word will be fed by the Bread of God (John 6:31-33). The manna, then, is typical of Jesus Christ, who came down from heaven as the Bread of Life. Jesus is the true spiritual and heavenly bread (John 6:48-51). The manna was very much like our Lord Jesus Christ in that—
A. It was the Gift of God. Of course all bread is God’s gift, whether it comes out of the earth or out of heaven; but the wilderness has no way of producing it. So Christ was God’s gift to a starving world (John 3:16). God knew what the hungry heart and soul of man needed when He gave Jesus – the Bread of Life.
B. It was Suitable for All. All alike found it what it was meant to be—something to satisfy physical hunger. What Christ is able to give is just what all human beings need, that which suits them—redemption, forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and grace to help in every time of need. This is God’s super-abundance for us!
C. It was Offered to All. From the youngest to the oldest, it was offered FREELY without money. The rich and the poor alike needed it. In this offer of Heaven’s Bread, God is no respecter of persons, for all have sinned. So Christ as the Bread from Heaven is offered by God’s grace to any man who will take this bread, promising that he who eats it shall live forever (John 6:51).
D. It was Personally Eaten. The Israelites all ate the same spiritual meat. Notice how it was not enough to gather and boast how much they had gotten. To personally profit there must be a personal application. It is possible to gather much knowledge about Christ and Bible doctrines, yet receive no help and strength from it if the truth we get is not applied in our own life!!
III. THE ROCK THAT FOLLOWED THEM (v.4). Like the Manna, that Rock was a clear picture of Jesus Christ because—
A. Like Christ, that Rock was Divinely Revealed (Exo. 17:6). At Christ’s baptism the Holy Spirit rested upon Him. There was to be no mistake in identifying Jesus as the God-appointed source of blessing to His trusting people (II Cor. 5:19).
B. Like Christ, that Rock was Full of Unrealized Blessing. The Israelites might say, "How can any good come out of this solid rock?" as they said of Christ, "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" or, "How can this man save us?" But it pleased God that in Jesus Christ should all fullness dwell (Col. 1:19).
C. Like Christ, this Rock must be Smitten (Exod. 17:6). The rock was smitten not for itself, but for the people. Christ was wounded for our transgressions, the rod of God’s judgment fell upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isa. 53:5).
D. Like Christ, the Smitten Rock Poured Forth its Hidden Treasures (Psa. 78:15). Amazingly then, from His smitten Son should come forth streams of grace and mercy. On the day when Christ was nailed on the cross and pierced by a spear, there was opened a bloody fountain of cleansing for sinful men (Rev. 1:5).