Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 21, 2010

a rash decision

Talk about an adventuresome life! Moses’ journey takes us from the riches of Egypt to the backside of the desert. Through the lens of Scripture we see Him at the burning bush and leading the children of Israel through the Red Sea. He spent time on the mountain with God, and brought back the Ten Commandments. Leading a band of people who were easily disgruntled would have been an adventure enough.

As we follow Moses’ life and leadership through the pages of God’s Word, we see him as a man with weakness and sin, but also deeply dedicated to the Lord. But after nearly 40 years in the wilderness, it happened: an event that kept Moses from going into the Promised Land. Have you ever wondered why?

In Numbers chapter twelve, Moses is called the most humble man on the face of the earth. But only a handful of verses into the chapter, we see a picture of an indignant man, who acted rashly, and lost his opportunity to lead his people into the Promised Land. The Israelites were grumbling again about the lack of water. Moses was instructed to take the staff and speak to the rock. God told him it would pour out water. Remember at an earlier time when the children of Israel were unhappy about the lack of water, Moses was instructed to smite the rock. He had done as God commanded and water flowed. But this time, he disobeyed and instead of speaking, he smote the rock twice.

Numbers 20:10-12
He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

A man of deep humility was overtaken by rash, angry words. He said “must we bring you water out of this rock?” Although there can be varying opinions on why this was such a glaring failure, there is no question that Moses directly disobeyed God’s design and desire, and in his own power, struck the rock. Centuries later, we struggle with the same problem, taking God’s design and doing it our way. Whether we do it out of reaction or rebellion, we choose our own means and method.  God has always placed a high value on obedience whether it was smiting a rock, or living our way in the 21st century.

Lessons learned from this scene can be very helpful to any Christ follower. The Father wants obedient children: He does know best! God’s grace is seen through this scene as, even with Moses’ lack of trust, the water came for the people. I personally see the beauty of God’s grace in that He let Moses see the Promised Land before he died. You and I will often fail as Moses did, but is your heart set on obedience?

“Tune in” on Thursday for the conclusion of this story …



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