The apostle Paul assures us here twice over in (v.6,11) that these things happened unto them as types, or examples unto us, upon whom the ends of the ages are come, “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” (v.6).
We, like them, are pilgrims and strangers on the earth, enjoying great spiritual mercies. They had the “shadows,” we have the realities, I.Jh.1:1), “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;”
Let us note the moving Cloud “All our fathers were under the cloud” (v. 1). The cloud of shelter by day, and of fire by night as their protection and guide (Ex.13: 21).
The cloud was the symbol and evidence of the Divine Presence, in itself a mystery, ( Ac 2:3) “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Pentecost was a spiritual experience that filled the hearts and life of the people that day.
When the cloud moved the people moved. It seemed to move easily, but nothing on earth could move it, (Mt 24:35) “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” God’s Word will always stand.
What a suggestive emblem of the revealed Word of God! They all were under it, and God was in it and all were baptised into the one name (Moses), their leader and law-giver (v.2).
They were infallibly led by the God-created cloud, just as we can be by His Word.
To move with out the cloud was to go in their own name, wisdom, and strength, which would mean for them confusion and failure.
Confusion and failure will be ours when we choose our way, and act without His authority.
It was because they believed and followed the cloud that they were able to go into the midst of the sea upon dry ground, “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” (Ex.14: 22).
It is because we have believed and acted on the “Word of the Lord” that we have passed from death into life, from the place of bondage into the liberty of the land of promise.
Let us Keep on believing, let us keep our eye on the God-inspired cloud. Jesus the Word of God, (Heb.12:2) “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;”
The had their Daily Manna,“They did all eat the same spiritual meat” (v. 3). “He gave them bread from Heaven to eat” according to (Jh. 6.:31).
People who follow the Word of God will surely be fed by the “Bread of life. ”Jesus said, “I am the Living Bread which came down from Heaven” (Jh.6.48,51).
The manna, then, is typical of Jesus Christ, who came down from Heaven as “the Bread of Life.” The manna was like Christ in that,
It was the gift of God. Of course all bread is God’s gift, whether it comes out of the earth or out of the Heavens.
The wilderness could do nothing by way of producing it.
So Christ was God’s gift to a starving world (John 3:16).
God knew what the hungry heart of man needed when He gave us Jesus Christ as “the Bread of Life.” This bread was suited for all the people.
All alike found it what it pretended to be, something to satisfy the craving of hunger, (Ro. 14:17) tell us, ”For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” What a blessing for soul.
What Christ has to give is just what all of us need, that which exactly suits us, the forgiveness of sins and grace to help in every time of need. Satisfied with His abundance, (Ps. 37:11) “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
This bread was offered to all the people. From the youngest to the oldest, without money, without price. 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 and come short of the glory of God. Christ will receive all sinner.
So Christ as the “Living Bread” from Heaven is offered, in God’s grace, to any man who will eat this bread (Jh.6:51) “ I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” This bread was personally used. “They did all eat the same spiritual meat. ” It was not enough to gather and boast of how much they had gotten.
To be personally profited there must be a personal acquiring.
We may possibly gather much knowledge about Christ, and yet receive little strength and satisfaction from it, if the truth is not adapted in our own spiritual life. “He that eateth Me shall live by Me” (Jh.6:47). The Rock that Followed Them according (v.4) “They drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.:
Like Christ, This rock was was revealed by God. It may only have taken God a few moments to show Moses this rock in Horeb, but it took Him over thirty years to show the Rock, Christ, for all the years of His earthly life was an unveiling of His character as the Almighty God, (Rev.1:8) “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
Like Christ this rock, was Divinely possessed, “Behold I will stand before thee there the rock in’ Horeb” (Ex.17: 6). It was God standing in the rock at Hereb, it was God in Christ Jesus,Christ, (Mt.1:23) “ Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.“and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sin,sins” Let us note (II.Co 5:19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
Like Christ, was rich in unrealised blessing.
The Israelites might say, “How can any good come out of this rock ? ” as they said of Christ, “Can any good come out of Nazareth ? ” or, “How can this Man save us? ”( Col 2:9,10) tell us “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: But they could say later on, (Jh.1:16), “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”
Like Christ this rock must be smitten. “Thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink” (Ex.17.6).
The rock was not smitten for itself, but for the salvation of the people, “He was wounded for our transgressions, the rod of God’s judgment fell upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53).
Like Christ, the smitten poured forth its hidden treasures, “He clave the rock, and gave them drink as out of the great depths” (Psa. 78. 15).
0 wonder of wonders, that from His smitten Son there should come forth streams of redeeming mercies, out of the great depths of God’s eternal purpose.
In that day in which Christ was pierced, there was opened a fountain of cleansing for a sinful world. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters” (Isa. 55:1)
Like Christ, this spiritual rock followed them.
They drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (v. 4). This water from the Rock was to them an abading blessing.
It followed them. Something to satisfy all the way. Jesus said: “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well, springing up into everlastircg life” (Jh. 4:14).