Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 6, 2016

the blame game

There have been many times in my life when words and actions resulted in great remorse. But there was no taking them back! Your memory bank may also contain recollections which make you wonder, “How could I have said or done that?!” Now, take a moment and imagine if your lack of discretion was memorialized in print?

Moses was a man to be admired.  He was a man of great faith who had put up with repeated complaining and grumbling by the children of Israel.  However, we see a vivid description of his own failure when the Israelites were grumbling by the waters of Meribah.  With rash words towards the people, and in clear disobedience of God, Moses created an epic “How could I have done that?!” moment.

At Meribah, too, they angered the Lord, causing Moses serious trouble. They made Moses angry, and he spoke foolishly.
Psalm 106:32-33(NLT)

Although I want to make excuses for one of my heroes, there can be no mistake that Moses’ rash words and actions were wrong. Why couldn’t he, in simple faith, believe that God’s command was best? Instead, he did exactly what you and I do regularly; he took over and did it his way (struck the rock twice, rather than obeying God and speaking to it).

Every time I think about what happened that day, the severe consequence for Moses comes front and center in my mind. The leader of the children of Israel would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Wow! His leadership role may have played into the severity of the punishment, but failing to obey the Father always has consequences.  Can you imagine the sense of regret this humble servant of God must have felt in realizing that his journey would end outside the Promised Land?  The following verses give us a sense of how he must have felt.

At that time I pleaded with the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do? Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side, the beautiful hill country and the Lebanon mountains.”  But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. “That’s enough!” he declared. “Speak of it no more. But go up to Pisgah Peak, and look over the land in every direction. Take a good look, but you may not cross the Jordan River.”
Deuteronomy 3:23-27 (NLT)

Notice that the Lord refused his request by not allowing him to go into the Promised Land. But notice also whom Moses blames. He squarely places the responsibility for God’s decision not to listen to him on the children of Israel.  Isn’t it easy to blame others rather than accept the fact that we were wrong?  There is no question that the people Moses was leading were difficult at best, but their lack of trust and complaining attitudes were no excuse for Moses’ disobedience. He was responsible for his own words and actions.

It would take pages to examine all the lessons that can be gleaned from Moses’ epic failure. However, there is no question that disobedience to God’s directives is not an option. Without question, there are people who push us right to the edge of the emotional ledge. For Moses, God’s way was best … no excuses. For us, God’s way is best … no excuses.  A lifetime of good can be changed in a moment of frustration.  Determine to let your words and actions reflect the Father’s will.


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