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Moses Strikes the Rock (Numbers 20:1~13)
1 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.
2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron.
3 They quarreled with Moses and said, "If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD!
4 Why did you bring the LORD's community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here?
5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!"
6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them.
7 The LORD said to Moses,
8 "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink."
9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD's presence, just as he commanded him.
10 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?"
11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
12 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."
13 These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the LORD and where he showed himself holy among them.
Taking It to the LORD (20:1–8)
The Israelites arrive at the Desert of Zin and find there is no water. They begin to complain and quarrel with Moses. On the surface, their complaint seems like a legitimate one. After all, without water the future looks bleak. But the Israelites also long for Egypt and demand to know why Moses had them leave, even though they were slaves in Egypt and it was the LORD who brought them out and led them into the desert toward the Promised Land. At its core, Israel’s complaint about lacking water is a complaint against the LORD. In the face of an immediate crisis, they doubt His power and faithfulness. Much like the Israelites, we too often complain about what we lack, and this reveals a lot about our attitude toward God.
- What is your latest complaint to God? Does it betray a lack of faith, patience, or gratitude?
Moses’s Sin (20:9–13)
This can be a hard passage to grasp if we do not understand the gravity of Moses’s sin in striking the rock for water. First, God commanded Moses to speak to the rock, not strike it. Moses striking the rock is, therefore, a failure to carry out God’s specific instructions. God can see that Moses strikes the rock out of impatience and frustration and judges the sin of his doubting heart. God punishes Moses because he did not trust Him enough and did not honor Him in the sight of Israel—instead, Moses took matters into his own hands. If we want to do God’s will, we must allow Him to work on His terms, not our own.
- We often pray, “Your will be done,” but our actions betray otherwise. Do you have the self-control and faith to let God do His work in your life, in His way and His timing?
A letter to God
Dear God, teach me to obey. Teach me Your commands and give me insight into Your Word. Give me ears to hear and a heart to obey, and keep me humble and courageous. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
* All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.