He divided the sea and led them through;
he made the water stand up like a wall.
He guided them with the cloud by day
and with light from the fire all night.
He split the rocks in the wilderness
and gave them water as abundant as the seas;
he brought streams out of a rocky crag
and made water flow down like rivers.
It’s amazing how God’s grace was present over all of the people of Israel before Moses received the law from God’s hands. The foolish and ungrateful people did not quite understand the wonderful liberation they had obtained through God’s miraculous intervention in Egyptian affairs. They had not done anything particularly meaningful to earn the privilege of being guided by day with a pillar of cloud and by night with a pillar of fire. When they had to face the formidable obstacle of the Red Sea and saw that the Egyptians were close behind them, they let themselves be overwhelmed by fear and ended up complaining and protesting against Moses for having freed them from slavery. They did not deserve to have the sea divided to allow them free passage to freedom. Still, God showed his grace to this rebellious people.
Later, when they came to Rephidim, the Jews began to complain that the territory had no water for them and their beasts to quench their thirst. On the instructions of God, Moses along with some elders of Israel advanced to an even drier and more desolate place: Mount Horeb. Here the Lord again showed His grace to a discontented and murmuring people by producing water from a barren rock. The people who left Egypt and their descendants could never understand the grace of God and because of it they rejected grace and God had to assign a guide to lead them to Christ. It was not until Christ revealed to the world that they were able to leave the imprisonment that the law meant.
Today there are many people who do not understand the concept of grace and take refuge in the law or in a personal kind of legalism which keeps them tied up and paralyzed in their progress towards spiritual maturity in Christ. Like the foolish Galatians, after beginning by means of the Spirit, they are now trying to finish by means of the flesh. Let us fix our eyes on our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s seek support on his grace and mercy. Let us be embraced by his love so we can be set free from the slavery we find ourselves into when we believe that justice can be achieved through the works of the law. To God alone be the glory!