Our Wilderness Journey
1Cor. 10:1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.
Paul is reminding the Corinthians about the Israelites’ wilderness journey. It was on this journey that God provided for them everything that they needed, and yet they grumbled and complained. They wanted food and God gave them manna, providing food for them for forty years. They were thirsty and they received water from the rock. They were rescued from their Egyptian oppressors by passing through the sea. Moses was their spiritual father, present with them day in and day out to lead them to the spiritual rock. They failed to see what they had been given to them, taking it all for granted. In continually pining for Egypt they missed out on the miracle in front of them and many never lived to see the promised land.
Our Lenten journey is often consider a time in the wilderness. Jesus, who spent forty days and forty nights in the wilderness, was sustained by the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. As we make our wilderness journey we are to consider the ways in which God sustains us. Our heightened senses means that we become more and more aware of the work of God around us. Often we are too distracted to notice that God may be at work, but the purpose of the wilderness is to lose the distractions. Suddenly the work of God becomes much more real and we see God’s hand in new and different ways.
The spiritual rock in the wilderness was Christ. Rocks can serve several purposes as we journey. They can be a place where we sit down and we rest, giving a time of renewal to our weary bones. At the same time, if we’re not paying attention we can stumble over the rock and fall. The rock will not be moved and we must pay attention to the placement of the stone. The rock in the wilderness provided the Israelites with life-sustaining water, the elixir of life. We all need water or will not survive. Jesus, the rock, provides us with the water that we need for life during our wilderness experience. Life-giving, cool and satisfying, water rejuvenates and brings new life and perspective, if only we will take the time to stop and drink.
Instead of stumbling over the rock, Jesus provides an invitation to relax and be refreshed. It may look like there are a lot of rocks in the wilderness journey, when in reality they are points of refreshment which will lead us into a deeper walk with Jesus Christ. While Jesus was in the wilderness the mission of the Father became very clear. Who knows what God may be wanting to say to us on our Lenten journey but our minds must be clear and our dependence must be upon Christ. Rest on the rock and drink deeply from Jesus’ spiritual drink. As a result you will be prepared for what lies ahead.
Lord, we often complain about the wilderness and the rocks. I’m sorry. Please, help me to embrace you, my rock and my salvation. Amen.