Lesson Twenty Four



Memory Verse: Isaiah 33:16
Further Study: Exodus 17, 18, Patriarchs and Prophets: pp. 297-301; The Story of Redemption: pp. 131-136; The Bible Story, vol. 2, pp. 146-150

The last three weeks our lessons and thus our devotionals have been remarkably similar. We have studied three stories about the Israelites that happened in about the same amount of time as our study—one incident right after the other. Three weeks ago, we learned they were complaining. Last week, they were grumbling. This week, quarreling.

Three weeks ago, their complaints were about water. Last week, food. This week, water again.

Three weeks ago, we watched Moses throw up his hands in distress. Last week he was calmer, but essentially told them (in the original Hebrew) “Shut-up!” This week, he questioned God as to why he was ever put in such a situation.

Three weeks. Three stories. Similar challenges, but each differs in the intensity of response.

Three weeks. Three stories. Similar challenges, but each differs in the intensity of response.

There is, however, one constant. God. He does not change His response to the Israelites or Moses in spite of what they do or how they ask. Constant. Steady. Longsuffering.

We’ve all experienced little people (or big ones) who, because they are bored, tired, or sick, even though we love them, become annoying. Annoying leads to irritation. Irritation leads to reactions that probably aren’t much different than how Moses felt. In that we can relate. But how amazing is it that we serve a God who responds in spite of it all continually with patience and grace?

How amazing is it that we serve a God who responds continually with patience and grace?

In the story of the Israelites, we learn more of God as well as how He works on our behalf. The same staff at the burning bush dedicated to His service brought deliverance from Egypt. The same staff opened the Red Sea. The same staff provided refreshment from a rock. He is today what He was then. While we may not see the staff or sense the Cloud, He still quenches our thirst, sates our hunger, offers us rest, and hears our cries. He, the divine Shepherd, leads us in the “paths of righteousness” each day. And in His constancy, we are renewed.

Digging Deeper 

A great spiritual truth is found within the story of water from the rock. Paul references it in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4:

“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food,  and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

The Rock that was struck by Moses where water flowed freely to quench their thirst represented Jesus. Jesus is the Rock that we can depend on for our every need. Only water that flows from Him will satisfy  our thirst for truth. 

Interestingly, Paul references the “Rock that followed them . . .”, which we understand as Jesus who was ever-present. Jewish tradition, however, believed that a rock literally did follow the Israelites throughout their 40-year journey through the desert providing them with the water needed. Whether a literal rock followed them or not we do not know, but Ellen White shares, “Wherever in their journeyings they wanted water, there from the clefts of the rock it gushed beside their encampment” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 411). Each time they needed water they need only look to the Source of refreshment. 

Making it Real

For family worship, read some scriptures that talk about the water of life for our soul. 

Psalm 42:1, 2
Psalm 63:1
Isaiah 12:3
John 7:37, 38

Then sing “A Shelter in a Time of Storm” (#528 in The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal). If you don’t know the hymn, take time to learn it. Or read the words out loud.

“The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever may betide,
A shelter in the time of storm.”

“Mighty Rock in a weary land,
Cooling shade on the burning sand,
Faithful guide for the pilgrim band—
A shelter in the time of storm.”

“A shade by day, defense by night,
A shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes affright,
A shelter in the time of storm. Refrain

“The raging floods may round us beat,
A shelter in the time of storm;
We find in God a safe retreat,
A shelter in the time of storm. Refrain

“O Rock divine, O Refuge dear,
A shelter in the time of storm;
Be Thou out helper, ever near,
A shelter in the time of storm.” Refrain


Respond & Share

How do you depend on Jesus? Share your answers in the comments.


Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.


Coming next week:

Based on 2 John 6, Exodus 19; 20:1-20,
Patriarchs and Prophets: pp. 301-305;
The Story of Redemption: pp. 137-141;
The Bible Story, vol. 2, pp. 153-157


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