The Lord used Moses to rebuke Pharaoh, to liberate the Israelite nation, and to lead them on their journey to the Promised Land. In our Bibles, we find Moses among some of God’s most faithful (Hebrews 11:23-30). However, Moses was not without sin. Perhaps the most well-known occasion comes from Numbers 20. The Israelites arrived at Kadesh without water and they were thirsty. The people complained about their condition. The congregation reached such a level of distress that in their cry to Moses and Aaron they claimed to prefer death over continuing in the wilderness (Numbers 20:2-5). Moses and Aaron turned to God in prayer for a solution.
The Lord’s instructions were to take the rod, gather the people, and speak to the rock (Numbers 20:8). Moses would have no doubt in God’s ability to grant the water. Not only had he seen God display His power over the elements in Egypt, but he had seen the Lord solve this very same problem on their journey. When the people reached Rephidim and had no water God instructed Moses to take the rod, go with the elders, and smite the rock (Exodus 17:5-6). Moses did as the Lord commanded in Rephidim, but Moses did not do as the Lord commanded in Kadesh. He took his rod, gathered the people together, and then spoke to the people instead of speaking to the rock. “He said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10). Moses then took his rod and hit the rock twice. The Lord was gracious and allowed water for the people and their animals to drink, but it was clear that Moses and Aaron were disobedient. (Notice it is “must WE fetch you water” not GOD) These two great leaders were told that they would not enter the land of promise because they did not believe, to sanctify the Lord in the eyes of the children of Israel (Numbers 20:12).
Today we might experience annoyance because of rebellious sin we see committed amongst God’s people. Before our exasperation pushes us to sin, we should remember our own faults and the example of Jesus. The sinless Son of God saw much wickedness among mankind, and yet remained focused on God. He concerned himself with making God known and glorifying Him (John 17:3-4). This focus could have prevented Moses from disobeying the Lord’s command. Our God requires that we all be obedient to His will and not our own. May we always do as He commands, glorify Him, and help others to do the same!
From Faith to Faith, Granbury Street Church of Christ Weekly Bulletin, February 17, 2019.