God in the Dock – Gospel in Life

God in the Dock

Tim Keller |  June 24, 1990

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  • Purpose and Calling
  • Jesus' Death & Resurrection
Exodus 17:1-17
RS 209-08


Paul says that if you want to understand the Bible, you need to realize that everything is about Jesus. He says it’s written not just for them, but it’s written for us, on whom the end of the ages has come.

This passage teaches us three things. The world is a wilderness. God has opened a fountain for people in the wilderness. And this fountain is only available because God himself entered the wilderness and received our punishment.

Exodus 17:1–7; 1 Corinthians 10:2–4, 11

The story in Exodus 17:1-7, where Moses hits a rock and water comes out for the Israelites, shows us the real purpose of the church: It’s to direct people to Jesus, not just a building or a preacher. Even though it might not seem obvious, this story is about Jesus, because the rock is a symbol for Him, and this is confirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10. This story teaches us important lessons about our faith and how we relate to God.

1. The world is a wilderness

The New Testament often describes our world as a wilderness, focusing on the difficulties Christians face. This is particularly true when you think about the past hardships of people living in places like Central Russia and other areas that have suffered through wars, diseases, and harsh governments. Even with the comforts we have now, we can still feel unhappy, just like the Israelites felt during their journey in the wilderness. God uses this as a way to show us what our life on earth is like.

2. God has opened a fountain for people in the wilderness

As we journey through the wilderness of life, we discover a fountain that God has provided. This fountain is overflowing with joy, strength, and life. When we realize how much we need this source of life, it becomes obvious that without it, we would not survive in the wilderness. Through God’s grace and provision, we are able to access this fountain, which provides sustenance for our weary souls.

3. This fountain is only available because God himself entered the wilderness and received our punishment

Christianity uniquely acknowledges suffering, admitting it’s real and that it can be redeemed. This is different from other religions that might consider suffering an illusion. How we respond to suffering can shape our character and our relationship with God. It’s important to face these trials with humility and gratitude. The Christian faith emphasizes knowing yourself, surrendering to God, and recognizing the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, which all come together in the experience of prayerful communion.



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Marriage is one of the most profound human relationships — but it can also be one of the most challenging. So Tim and Kathy Keller designed a devotional book for married couples to use together.