Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC 

Numbers 20:7-12
and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” 

I have a friend that cannot follow instructions. She is a rule follower in life but when it comes to printed directions she fails 9 times out of 10. I personally love it because she usually documents her attempts on social media and I get to watch the chaos unfold. Typically it involves her well-intended attempt at a receipt in the kitchen but tragically ends in a flowered mess and a final product that we can all laugh at.   

Numbers chapter 20 recounts a similar story of not following instructions. The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for almost 40 years, coming close to the time they could finally enter into the promised land! In verse 2 we read there was no water for the people and the nation starts to complain. The Israelites cry out to Moses stating he should have just left them all in Egypt enslaved rather than drag them out to the wilderness to die there with no water. This isn’t the first time that the Israelites grumbled to Moses because of a lack of water. Back in Exodus 17, almost 40 years prior, they cried over the same thing. You would think that the Israelites would have learned their lesson on trusting the Lord. He had already proved His faithfulness over and over by parting the Red Sea, providing water, manna and quail, and leading them with a pillar of fire and a cloud. But alas, due to the human condition, they forgot. 

In verse 7 the Lord tells Moses to take the staff, assemble the congregation and tell a rock to produce water, but instead of telling the rock to produce water just as the Lord commanded Moses decided to first chastise the Israelites and then strike the rock with his staff. The Lord still made water come from the rock, because He is faithful, but Moses’ slight deviation from the Lord’s instruction didn’t go unaddressed. The Lord spoke to both Moses and Aaron in verse 12 stating, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” Moses and Aaron lost the promised land. Moses was 120 years old, he spent 40 years in the desert, his entire life was predicated on the fact that he followed the Lord faithfully, and with one bad decision he lost the promised land. That’s a pretty harsh punishment if you ask me. 

This is one of the hardest lessons to learn in the Bible. The root of the problem is Moses’ lack of trust. When you trust someone fully you will follow them fully. Gospel singer/songwriter Kirk Franklin said it best, “You gotta be confident in what He WILL do because of what He DID do. Why would He fail you now?” In a moment of stress Moses and Aaron forgot to fully trust God and instead did things in their own way. 

God is still faithful to Moses however. He may have never made it to promised land but the Lord was still good! In Hebrews 11 Moses is credited for his faith and in Matthew 17 Moses is seen by Peter, James and John on the mountain at the time of Jesus’ transfiguration. God didn’t completely rid himself of Moses for one simple act of unfaithfulness but God did allow consequences because of Moses’ actions. 

2 Timothy 4:7 states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” That’s the goal, what we as followers of Christ are to strive for. At the end of our lives we should all desire to claim that truth of keeping the faith to the very end. Ask the Lord today to help you trust in Him fully. 

Heavenly Father, I am sorry for all the times I have gotten it wrong. Forgive me for when I have neglected your perfect instructions and decided to do things my own way. Help me to fully trust you even when I wrongfully feel I know better! In Jesus name, amen!

Galatians 3:28
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”