What does a judge do? What does it mean to be judged? Have mom or dad ever had to stand in front of a judge (hmmm this could be interesting)?
The Bible isn’t a book about us. It’s a book about God and how much he loves us. All of the stories in the Bible were written by God so that we can know who he is. God wants us to know him and know what he’s like. And the best way to know God is to know Jesus. This means that all the stories in the Bible will help point us to Jesus.
There’s a story in the book of Exodus that does just that. It points to Jesus and shows us what God is like. The story is about the Hebrews. God rescued the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, and now he is leading them to the place where they will worship him, a place called Sinai. But on the way to Sinai the Hebrew people keep getting thirsty and hungry, and they keep getting mad at Moses, and they keep doubting God’s love.
One day the people got so mad that they decided to put Moses on trial. Do you know what a trial is? A trial is when someone is accused of doing something bad, a crime, and then they must stand up in front of a judge. If the judge says that they are guilty then the person will be punished. The Hebrews wanted to judge Moses. They thought he was a bad leader and was trying to hurt them. Some people even wanted to kill him.
But Moses told the people that they weren’t just judging him, they were judging God. Listen to what Moses said to them:
Exodus 17:2. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?”
Moses said that they were “testing” or judging God. Do you think the people should judge God?
And then God spoke up. And what he said was truly amazing. Listen to what God said:
Exodus 17:6. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.”
What God could have said is, “Be Quiet!” Or, “Now I will punish you bad, bad, people.” OR, “Good luck finding your own water.”
But instead God says that he will stand upon the rock and “you shall strike the rock.”
Now this part is a bit hard to understand, but when God stood upon the rock, it was as if God was saying that the rock is now him. “I am the rock,” God said. And then, instead of God hitting the people with a big stick, God told Moses to hit the rock with his staff. God was saying, “Hit me. Hurt me. And when you do, the water will come out and everyone will live!”
Hundreds of years later, in the New Testament, Paul the Apostle will say that the rock in the desert that was hit was a picture of Jesus.
Think together about how this story is a picture of Jesus. How does it help us to know what God is like?
On the cross, Jesus was hit and hurt for us. We are all like the Hebrews who do bad things, and complain, and fail to trust God, and fail to believe that he loves us. God should hit us, just like he should have hit the Hebrews that day. But instead God hit God. God hit Jesus, who is God, in our place. Jesus died on the cross so that we might be forgiven and have his love and his eternal life.
Because of Jesus we don’t have to be judged or hit by God. We are forgiven!
With Jesus we don’t have to judge or hit others. We can forgive!
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Draw a picture of our story together. Don’t forget to include 1) the rock, 2) God in the cloud, 3) Moses hitting the rock, and 4) the water flowing out.
Here’s what my picture looks like:
Ask your kids if they can explain how this picture is like Jesus on the cross.
And here’s a song you can sing together:
You were hit by God for me so that I could be forgiven. Help me to always remember that you love me and are with me.
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