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Evangel Tabernacle | December 16, 2017

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Honey From the Rock

Honey From the Rock

| On 15, Dec 2013

KEY TEXT
Psalms 81:13-16 (RSV)

V13- O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!

V14- I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes.

V15- Those who hate the LORD would cringe towards him, and their fate would last for ever.

V16- I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.

Deuteronomy 32:13 – He made him ride on the high places of the earth, and he ate the produce of the field; and he made him suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.

In the early years of our ministry, our church used to sing this favorite chorus almost every Sunday – “He’s My Everything”. The song goes like this:

He is my everything
He is my all
He is my everything
Both great and small
He gave His life for me
Made everything new
He is everything
Now how about you?

Like honey in the rock
Sweet honey in the rock
For He tastes like honey in the rock.
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good
For He tastes like honey in the rock.

I remember one of the promises God gave me last year was – He would feed me with the finest of wheat and with honey from the rock, He would satisfy me.

This morning, I would like to share a message entitled, ‘HONEY FROM THE ROCK’.

When I first received this rhema from God in Psalm 81:16, I thought the ‘honey from the rock’ refers to the waters of Meribah mentioned in verse 7 of Psalm 81. According to the Pentateuch, it was at Meribah that God caused water to flow out from a rock.

But then God showed me that I needed to interpret Psalm 81 according to the one other place in Scripture where this image occurs. That is in Deuteronomy 32:13.

Let’s look at the background of both of these key texts.

(1) BACKGROUND OF PSALM 81:16
Here in Psalms 81, God has made his people a conditional promise. Israel had disobeyed Jehovah God. God told them if they would obey and commit themselves to Him (verse 13), then He would deal with the Assyrians (verse 14-15) and blessed His people with the finest wheat and honey from the rock (verse 16).

How true this promise unfolds itself to many of us who upon obeying God, would experience such supply and vindication from God.

(2) BACKGROUND OF DEUTERONOMY 32:13
Deuteronomy 32 never mentions Meribah or water from the rock. Deuteronomy 32 seems rather to describe what would happen when the children of Israel entered the hill country of Ephraim. They rode into these hills on donkey. They found the land rocky but they still found enough to eat. They terraced the hills and built cisterns and many small villages according to the archeologists of the 11th century. They were able to grow olive trees for oil and produce honey in that rocky hill country. Verse 14 even talks about the milk. Remember, these people of God were looking for a land flowing with ‘milk and honey.’

Their hill country existence seems poor and precarious to us. But to the people who had endured thirst and hunger in the wilderness for 40 years, it really was a land flowing with milk and honey. It represented God’s care for them. Psalm 81 promises that God will care for His people again if they turn to him. Deuteronomy 32 is the Song of Moses, giving tributes to God on how He has blessed Israel with a land of milk and honey.

And here’s hope for you and I today. No matter how infertile and poor your existence may seem today or how rocky your situation is, God is able out of that barren state of yours and rocky situation to bless you with honey from the rock so as to show to you His power as well as divine care.

(3) HONEY FROM THE ROCK
So it is established that God will care and bless His chosen people with honey from the rock.

What does ‘honey from the rock’ specifically mean? Let’s study them individually………

(A) THE ROCK
The Rock here spiritually and mystically typifies CHRIST, THE ROCK OF SALVATION.

1 Corinthians 10:4- For they drank from the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

(B) HONEY
The honey here refers to:
• the fullness of the grace of God in Christ
• the blessings of grace
• the sure mercies of God
• the precious promises of God
• the gospel (the Good News)
• the sweet texts of God’s Word (the rhemas)
• the sweet places and times of life with Christ
• the fulfilled desires and dreams

According to Psalm 81, the people of God who hearken to Christ and walk in His ways will surely and clearly be filled with this “honey” from Christ the rock and be SATISFIED.

© HONEY OUT OF THE ROCK
V16- I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.

Image: HONEY FROM THE ROCK

BEST BLESSING OUT OF DILIGENT SEARCHING

If “honey” is to be obtained from the “rock”, the “rock” must be climbed, since the honey will not lie on the surface but in the clefts and fissures.

This implies that believers have to be put in disciplined and diligent effort in searching and digging the Word of God because the sweet honey words of Christ do not lie on the surface but in the deep crevices and clefts of the bible.

Every believers draws water [water is for daily subsistence] from the rock but the honey is reserved for those “who by patient continuance in well doing show forth eminently the praise of Him who bore our sins in His own body on the tree.”

I really respect Bro Winston Yap. He testified in our closed cell last week that despite his knee surgery, he still maintained his devo and he would never want to miss it for any thing. Even when he was in Spore to attend Ben and Joy’s wedding, he never failed to wake up way before the day’s itinerary would start to do his devo. Of course, some unspiritual people would mock him and say it was creepy to see him do “devo” in the hotel room but to me I see that as faithfulness and real devotion to God and I commend him for that.

There is a hidden preciousness in Christ our Savior, in that “Rock of Ages cleft for us” which is appreciated more and more as the believer goes deeper to know Christ more intimately, striving to magnify Him in all the actions of his life. As we go deeper and deeper into the Word and prayer, we will find in Christ vast stores of comfort, wisdom and knowledge that we will never be weary of searching as the honey of Christ will never be able to exhaust in its supply. The honey that you are able to dig from the cleft of the rock will be your supply of strength and provision for all your necessities.

Remember Jonathan and his finding of honey. “And all the people came into the forest; and there was honey on the ground. And when the people entered the forest, behold, honey was dropping but no man put his hand to his mouth; for the people feared the oath. But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with oath; so he put forth the tip of his staff that was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; AND HIS EYES BECAME BRIGHT” (1 Sam 14:25-29).

Here we see honey brightening the eyes of Jonathan. Similarly the honey of God’s word will brighten your eyes and strengthen the sinews of your faith.

BEST BLESSING OUT OF SUFFERING
This “honey” is from the “rock”…..from the CLEFTS (SPLIT) OF ROCKS.

We must go to the WOUNDS OF OUR SAVIOR if we want to obtain this precious and ever multiplying provision. We must be with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and at the CROSS. The sweetest springs and pleasures come from the HARDNESS OF AFFLICTIONS, FROM MOUNT CALVARY AND THE CROSS. We must be identified with Christ in His suffering. We must have the fellowship with Christ’s suffering in order that we get to share the glory of Christ when it is revealed. Because Christ was bruised and broken, pierced and riven like a vast mass of stone on which the thunderbolt has fallen, vast treasure of honey- salvation – was provided for mankind. Therefore, when we have walked in the same path as Christ does, we will also be permitted to “draw honey from the rock.” Our wound, our cleft, becomes the pedestal for us to draw our honey from God.

Isaiah 53:10-12 (LB)- But it was the Lord’s good plan to bruise him and fill him with grief. However when his soul has been made an offering for sin, then he shall have multitude of children, many heirs. He shall live again and God’s program shall prosper in his hands. And when he sees all that is accomplished by the anguish of his soul, he shall be satisfied; and because of what he has experienced, my righteous Servant shall make many to be counted righteous before God, for he shall bear all their sins. Therefore I will give him the honors of one who is mighty and great, because he has poured out his soul unto death. He was counted as a sinner, and he bore the sins of many, and he pled with God for sinners.

For those of us who resent or begrudge God for the suffering and sadness that consistently visit the human experience, we would do well to ponder the words of Dorothy L Sayers: “Whatever the reason God chose to make man as he is – limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death – He had the honesty and the courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He had not exacted from Himself. He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile

E.g. There is this land with a chain of homes for the refuge of those for whom men care but little – unfortunate and fallen girls and women. When the giver of those Crittenton homes died in the Far West and his body was brought across the continent to New York, at nearly every large city where the train that transported his dust stopped there were groups of girls and women with flowers in their hands and tears in their eyes. As a boy in a California school, I heard him speak one day and marveled at his power. Now I understand He had a daughter. She was the desire of his eyes. Life for him was the music of the brook. But the brook dried up; the child died. But in the grave of that child the heartbroken father gave his heart to Christ and consecrated his all – his vast wealth, his time, his strength, mind, soul and body – to the ministry of compassion for homeless and unfortunate women more sinned against than sinning. Have you had losses, disappointments, total eclipses of the sun of joy? Let them lead you to Christ and through him to the healing of others.

Let God’s program prosper in your hand after you have identified with Christ in the wounds of this fallen life.

BEST BLESSING OUT OF OPPOSITION
Honey isn’t produced by itself. Wherever there is honey, there are bees.

Bees might swarm in the cleft of the rock.

E.g. Two weeks ago, Carlyn was stung by the bees twice. She was trying to show me some plants for the garden of our church and unknowing to her, she ruffled the swarm of bees which stung her. Pas Paulynne managed to extract the sting of the bee and after soaking her hand in vinegar, Pas Carlyn was ok. But the second time, the bee stung her again when she was wearing the glove and she couldn’t remove the sting and the next day her hand swelled. See, in our endeavor to beautify the garden site of our Church, we literally face the opposition from the bees.

In our quest to obtain honey from the rock, we will face opposition. There is a danger we will be stung by bees. Yet, we still have to persevere despite this opposition. Jesus pressed in to obtain the honey of “salvation” for mankind. Despite opposition and hostility from men, he conquered by yielding and subdued death by dying so that he could reap the honey of a “name above all name, that at the name of Jesus all knees must bow.”

Hebrews 12:3- Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Why must our church go through so much pain recently? Why must we go through so much hostility and opposition? It is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus just like the Thessalonians church.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 (Msg) –Friends, do you realize that you followed in the exact footsteps of the churches of God in Judea, those who were the first to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ? You got the same bad treatment from your countrymen as they did from theirs, the Jews who killed the Master Jesus (to say nothing of the prophets) and followed it up by running us out of town. They make themselves offensive to God and everyone else by trying to keep us from telling people who’ve never heard of our God how to be saved. They’ve made a career of opposing God, and have gotten mighty good at it. But God is fed up, ready to put an end to it.”

Let’s face it in life – we will get to meet people who are fond of making a career of opposing God, His people and His church. What are you going to do about it? Press in. Persevere in your service and in your calling. When you are opposed, go to the Rock of your salvation and there He will quicken so many Words of God concerning your vindication and protection.

(4) OIL FROM FLINTY ROCK
Deuteronomy 32:13 – He made him ride on the high places of the earth, and he ate the produce of the field; and he made him suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.

In the concluding words of Deuteronomy 32:13, we read –“and oil out of the flinty rock.”

The word “flinty” gives a stronger image of ROCKINESS and therefore makes the place less promising for rich productions.

Sometime God allows afflictions to come into our lives so that when we are in a rough and wild places, we will be enabled to find there even richer provision than in cultivated places.

It is a proven fact that in every age of the Church history, there were believers who had been drawn closer to God because of the season of affliction which God had allowed in their lives.

Affliction in our lives is a season when God’s faithfulness and love have been more realized than they ever were before; a season in which the texts of Scripture have assumed new and deeper meaning and the truths which seem to have originally dealt only in the head have made their way to the heart and thereby giving “a peace passing all understanding.”

Now in Deuteronomy 32:13, we see the word “rock” being used twice – “honey in the rock and oil from flinty rock.”

The ‘rock with honey” is spelled “sela” and it typifies A HIGH ELEVATED ROCK.

It is referring to A STRONGHOLD TO WHICH ONE CAN FLEE FOR SAFETY.

The flinty “rock” is spelled “tzsur” and it is a rock that is shaped like a WALL. Maybe even two side by side walls, forming a place into which A PERSON CAN SQUEEZE TO BE SECURED AND OUT OF HARM’S WAY.

Often in Scripture, Jesus is pictured as such a Rock! Here’s Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:4, talking about the children of Israel as they traveled through the wilderness. “They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them and that Rock was Christ.”

JESUS IS THAT HIGH ROCK OF SAFETY! MY FORTRESS!

JESUS IS THE WALL OF PROTECTION TOO.

Often we have squeezed into His mighty Arms, there never to be harassed by Satan. MY REFUGE!

Just now we have seen that in the rock, in the ‘sela” BEES love to swarm in the cleft of the rock to make honey.

Here in flinty rock, the ‘tzsur’, olive trees love to grow there. Olive trees delight to grow on hills and mountains and hence we read of Mount of Olives. Out of these olive trees comes forth the OIL, thus “oil from flinty rock.”

Jesus as the “Rock” does deliver to us abundant supplies of “honey and oil.” Just like our Text implies, “he makes him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.”

I have already shown you what honey symbolizes.

Now how about the “oil” from the flinty rock? It symbolizes:
• the Holy Spirit and His unction
• the anointing of the Spirit and His gifting
• the Holy Spirit’s comfort and cheer
• the Holy Spirit’s healing
• the Holy Spirit’s refreshing power
• the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment – oil for light
• the Holy Spirit’s encouragement

Out of your most difficult flinty rock of affliction will come forth the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

E.g. Look at the anointed song, “Praise Him In The Storm” by Mark Hall of Casting Crown. How did this song come about? It came from Mark Hall meeting this mother who was watching her little daughter die gradually of cancer. She was in a flinty rock. But out of it, the Holy Spirit enabled her to declare to Mark Hall – “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21)” How could a mother praise God in the midst of her dying daughter? It was the oil of the Holy Spirit given to her in her flinty rock situation. The Holy Spirit gave her the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise in the face of heaviness. Look at Laura Story, the lady who wrote the song “Blessings” that hit No. 1 in the Christian Billboard Chart. Story explains, “Blessings is just a bunch of songs about worshipping when life is hard”. Her husband Martin Elvington was diagnosed with brain tumor and she wondered “Why didn’t you fix it, God? You’re all powerful and loving….just fix it.” Later after mentioning her desire to return back to normal, her sister said, “You know, I think the detour is actually the road.” She realized that “spending time with husband Martin obviously makes me happy but it makes me a better person. That’s the blessing of it.”

Indeed, sometimes the “detour of our life” will land us in flinty rock – sharp, painful and torturous experience but that’s where the anointing is cultivated and released.

By listening to the song Blessing, you can cry. That song has the anointing of the Holy Spirit that touches our inner spirit. But it comes at the price of flinty rocks.

(5) TO SUCK HONEY OUT OF THE ROCK AND OIL OUT OF THE FLINTY ROCK

Both pictures imply SOME EFFORT in extracting the blessings.

The verb “suck” is “yanaq” and involves EFFORT. No searching, no honey! That’s true of God’s Word, its sweet places. No doubt about that! And to some degree about Jesus too.

E.g. When Aaron Burr’s beautiful daughter, Thedosia, lost her boy of twelve at Charleston, South Carolina, her heart was crushed with sorrow. In a letter to her father she wrote as follows: “There is no more joy for me. The world is a blank. I have lost my boy. My own child is gone forever. Alas! My dear father, I live, but how does it happen? Or what am I formed that I live, and why? Of what service can I be if this world, either to you or anyone else, with a body reduced to premature old age and a mind enfeebled and wretched and bewildered? Yet, since it is my lot to live, I will endeavor to fulfill my part and exert myself to the utmost, though this life must henceforth be to me a bed of thorns!” The letter was the expression of the first paroxysms of grief, the exposing of the desolation of a broken heart. But making allowance for that, there is still the evidence of a state of mind and heart when one feels, and has good reason to feel, that the song has gone out of life, and that whatever part is played thereafter must be by sheer determination and a sense of obligation.

And to get oil from a flinty rock?

Petroleum companies today have not yet devised a cost effective way of doing this! Work surely must be involved then!

The word “flinty” might mean HARD.

But the lexicons often say it has a background meaning ‘TO DREAM!”

That means GODLY MEDITATIONS ABOUT JESUS OR ABOUT THE BIBLE will yield loads of OIL and THE HOLY SPIRIT INSIGHT.

Yes, Honey and oil need to be discovered and extracted.

At some risk too.

Bee stings come to mind with the honey!

Ultimately the question might be – ‘HOW INTENSELY DO WE WANT THESE THINGS? THE BLESSINGS OF HONEY AND OIL.

How intensely do you want the honey of God’s word; the honey of God’s presence; the honey of God’s intimacy; the honey of God’s strength and enlightenment?

How intensely do you want the oil of the Holy Spirit’s comfort, encouragement, healing, renewal and revival?

Honey out of the rock and oil out of the flinty rock.

Let’s go get them!

CONCLUSION
God is a powerful God. He is able to give us honey from the rock and oil from the flinty rock.

But these blessings are conditioned upon our obedience. If we are obedient and continue to commit to Him, He is able to turn our sterile situation into a fertile blessing. He is able to cause honey to come forth from the most rocky situation of our lives.

Oil of anointing will also be released from the flinty rock of our lives.

My testimony: After Carlyn was stung by the bees, she found that underneath the lid of the water bin was beehives. Of course, out of fear, she burned the beehives. But let’s think of it in retrospect – if we were to keep the hive, I believe you will find honey in the long run. Our land has honey out of the most unlikely place – the lid of a bin. The only other blessing lacking is milk. And so perhaps I should buy two cows so that we can milk them one day. (LOL). Seriously God showed me through His word that He would make this land very fertile. Recently Carlyn showed me this vacant lot in between our office and the TKK hall, two water melon growing out of the ground. Carlyn told me that the staffs ate water melon and just threw the seeds there and out grew two water melons. A fruitful land flowing with milk and honey!

END
PREACHED IN ETAB 2ND SV (ENG)ON 4 AUG 2013

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