The children of Israel had recently been delivered from the oppression of the Egyptians. They had seen the power of God at the Red Sea. They had seen the bitter waters of Marah made sweet for drinking. They had been filled with manna and quail from heaven when they were hungry. They had only been on their journey for a month; yet with all of these examples of Godís power to supply every need, they still lacked faith in Him. But before we shake our heads in disbelief at their lack of faith, letís consider our own lack of faith.
Here at Rephidim there was no water and the people thirsted. They began to question, "Where is God?" Was God there? Certainly God was there, but the people could not get their eyes off of their problem long enough to see Him. God will lead us to the water if we will follow Him.
How far have we traveled from Rephidim? This is more than a question of geography; it is a question of spiritual growth. How far have we advanced spiritually?
All too often we seem to be still at Rephidim. We are still very thirsty. We still doubt the presence of God, which we all have the tendency to do when we want something and cannot seem to get it. Rephidim is just where we are when we are destitute and need a spiritual drink from the river of God. What are some spiritual lessons we can learn from Rephidim?
I. GOD ALLOWS US TO THIRST (v.1)
A. Trials are common to man.
1. The Israelites lacked water.
2. They had lacked bread only a few days previously.
3. Every sphere of life has something of perplexity connected with it, which tests our moral nature and brings the mercy of God near to us.
4. We must learn both how to be in want and how to abound, to be sorrowful and yet always rejoicing.
B. Trials prove the world unsatisfactory.
1. Each sorrow in the wilderness would lead the true Israelite to long for the land of promise.
2. And so all the troubles of earth should create desires for the eternal satisfaction of heaven.
3. Life is a school in which sorrow is the first teacher, and in which we may learn the meaning of self.
4. In the best gardens of earth there are graves, but the garden of heaven is in eternal bloom.
a. There the wilderness is unknown, and hunger and thirst are not experienced.
b. The Lamb feeds them and they drink of the River of the Water of Life.
C. Trials prove the Lordís mercy adequate.
1. Their hunger was met by the manna.
2. Their thirst was met by the streams of Horeb.
3. The hour of manís need is often the hour of Godís richest gift and blessing.
4. So we see how thoroughly man depends upon God, even for the common necessities of life
5. Man may experience want even in the paths in which he is Divinely led, but s sorrow should lead to repentance and not to murmuring.
6. God will lead us to the water if we will follow Him.
II. GOD ALONE CAN QUENCH OUR THIRST (v.2-4)
A. The Israelites blamed Moses for the trial into which they were brought through lack of water.
1. But this is foolish!
2. Moses suffered the same calamity?
3. It was not in his power to create fountains!
4. He was seeking their freedom by leading them out of Egypt?
B. Too often when people get in trouble they look to man, when they ought to look to God.
1. It is the way of the world.
2. God must be seen through all the agencies which He sends to conduct our life to its destined place.
3. The seen things around us which are influencing us, are only the means which God appoints to bring us to rest.
4. Our thoughts must not terminate in them, but must go to that One who has so wisely ordered them.
5. Men are slow to see that all the circumstances of life are related to the providence of God, rather than the immediate agencies which appear to have caused them.
C. The application:
1. If you are seeking spiritual water to quench the thirst of your soul, do not go to the creature, but to the Creator
2. The Israelites went to Moses and asked him to satisfy their thirst, but in vain.
3. Not even the good things of this life, which are appointed by God for the true welfare of man, can satisfy this deeper longing of the soul.
a. Science cannot.
b. A good name cannot.
c. Social enjoyment cannot.
d. God alone can quench its thirst.
4. If you drink of the wells of earth you will thirst again; but if you drink of the water of the Spirit you will thirst no more.
5. God will lead us to the water if we will follow Him.
III. GOD QUENCHES OUR THIRST IN HIS WAY (v. 5-6)
A. God did not flash immediate judgment upon these rebellious people.
1. He is long-suffering toward man.
2. He shows us how that we must learn to be patient with those who injure us.
3. God knows what we need, and nothing will turn Him away from His promise.
4. God always reveals to praying souls the best method of action in the time of trouble.
5. He makes known the rock which shall relieve their need.
B. The thirst of Israel was quenched by water from a rock.
1. Who would expect clear, bright, water from a flinty rock?
2. We do not know the possibilities of the things around us.
3. The providence of God can make rocks into rivers to supply the need of His people.
4. We often get our blessings from where we least expect them.
a. We can get pity from the hard- hearted, money from the miserly, and harvests from barren places.
b. Nature yields her secret treasures at the voice of God.
c. Every rock in the desert is embraced in the hand of God.
C. From what source shall come the water to satisfy the thirst of the soul?
1. Certainly not from the rivers of worldly pleasures.
2. Not from the streams of human philosophy.
3. But from the One who was despised and rejected of men.
4. A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
5. From the Rock, Christ Jesus, comes the spiritual water which alone can quench the thirst of the soul.
6. God will lead us to the water if we will follow Him.
IV. GOD WILL NOT FORCE US TO DRINK (v.7)
A. The conduct of the Israelites revealed their ingratitude and unbelief.
1. They had chided (argued with) Moses.
2. They had forgotten the sweetened waters of Marah.
3. They had forgotten the pillar of cloud through which God had led them.
4. In the presence of these things, they asked, "Is the Lord among us, or not?"
B. Some men will not see the clearest indications of Godís Divine Presence in the experiences of life.
1. They are slow to recognize God in their time of need.
2. Heaven is with us as truly in need as in plenty.
3. When life is in pain, the consolations of Godís mercy are richest.
4. But they are not forced upon us.
5. We must choose.
Have you ever felt the need of spiritual water? There is a thirst of soul which needs immediate attention. David thirsted for God. Earthly things cannot appease this thirst. If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, I invite you to come this morning and receive eternal life.
To those who are saved, realize that the life of the soul cannot be sustained without the water of the Holy Spirit. It is absolutely essential. We are dependent upon heaven for it. No human creature can supply it. It flows clear as crystal from the throne of God and the Lamb. It is beyond price, and yet is free. It is refreshing to the weary soul. Do you need to come and ask God to fill you with the precious Holy Spirit? Come today!