Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs Twenty-Seven and verse Fifteen.
And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and SPEAK ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. Numbers 20:6-8
Have you ever misrepresented God? Moses struck the rock twice after God told him to simply speak to the rock.
And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod, he smote the rock twice. Numbers 20:10-11
It doesn’t seem like a big deal does it? After all, the people came complaining to Moses and Aaron once again. Were they never satisfied? Seems like every time Moses turns around they had another problem. Their whining and murmuring and false accusations seemed to really get to Moses this time. Moses striking a rock seemed like a mild response compared to their offenses. Yet, this singular act caused both Moses and his brother Aaron to be denied access to the promised land.
And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. Numbers 20:12
Moses murdered a man and hid his body in the sand and then fled to Midian, Exodus 2:12. Aaron crafted a golden calf, built an altar and, led the children of Israel into idol worship as they waited for Moses to come down from the mountain, where he was meeting with God face to face, Exodus 32. Neither of these offenses caused the brothers to be kept from being allowed into the long-anticipated entrance to the land flowing with milk and honey.
Why was hitting the rock with the rod of Aaron so serious? Why was this so egregious to God? Could the answer be that Moses did not believe God concerning the deliverance of His people from themselves, and their sinfulness? He obviously did not follow all of God’s commands thereby diminishing God’s holiness. He misrepresented God. In a way, it was like Moses was striking at God. Moses was angry at the unthankful, grumbling people, but God was not.
The rod of Aaron was used to pass judgment on the Egyptians with the plagues of blood, frogs, gnats, and lice. It was used to bring deliverance to the Israelites. The rod was utilized to perform miracles such as the opening of the Red Sea and for the defeat of Amalek. God used the rod to demonstrate His power.
Just a few chapters earlier God instructed Moses to strike the rock once for water. This was not done because of God’s anger but was a method that God ordered Moses to use. Moses, in his weakness, took what God used at one time and added in his sinfulness. Instead of following the instructions he had been given this time, Moses misled the people into thinking that God was angry. As God’s ambassador, he failed to represent the truth.
How we portray God matters also. Do we mislead people into thinking that they have to do more than God requires? Do we promote an idea about God that is not all together true? At times as a mom, I have to ask myself if I have added to the requirements of God by expecting my children to do, or not to do x,y, and z? Have I allowed them to think that God is displeased with them because they did not act in a way that I expected? I am challenged to evaluate how I communicate and exemplify the gospel to all people. It is important to be careful to not add or take away from God’s instructions. For Moses and Aaron, their display of aggravation towards God’s people cost them dearly. We must remember:
That the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. Romans 2:4
God’s plans and ways are perfect. It may not seem that He is at work in a situation or in a person’s life, but because we can trust Him, we can say it is well. There is no need to fix our eyes on the temporary. He will move in any way He sees fit. He is relentless in His desire to see that all people come to repentance and will cultivate an environment necessary to bring us into the fullness of God. Let’s agree with God when He gives us instruction and be careful to obey Him to the best of our ability.
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Read the “0219 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1)
The record of Numbers 11 is that the people complained and it displeased God. There were people among the multitude that would only seek for themselves. Their concern was for their comfort and their bellies. They did not seek for the heart of God, or be an encouragement for those who needed it, but rather complained. This attitude was met swiftly with God’s anger and judgment. Then the Isrealites complained and began “lusting”after meat, because God’s solution for their hunger was not enough for them. God gave to them according to their lust, until the “Meat was coming out of their nostrils”.
Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days;But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt? (Numbers 11:19-20)
Too often it is easy to fix our eyes on our problems and not on the One who holds our future. We focus on the challenges that we have allowed to become huge and insurmountable in our hearts and minds. We are experts at taking very real problems and situations, and blowing them up even larger.
We need God‘s grace to remember Who we are dealing with.
“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13)
He is the Lover of our souls. He is the One who can heal with a word or a touch of his hand. It is He, who fed the multitudes, not only with bread and fish, but with the words of eternal life. When we face the reality of giants, as they did in the land that was promised to them, we can choose to remember his words that tell us to believe him, or we can allow ourselves to be overrun by our own hearts, which can easily fail and lead us down unsafe paths. When we complain with our voices, it’s just a manifestation of what is already present within the abundance of our heart. Better and safer it is to be in his perfect will. Even with potential threats and possible calamities we are protected. It is better for us to trust Him then to be out of his will. We do not need to be striving to forge a way through, apart from him and his keeping grace. He is the living God! He can be trusted! He is faithful and true! He is the way the truth and the life. He said “Apart from me, ye can do nothing!” If we can see Him as He is, all else will be diminished.
What is spilling out when we are squeezed, bumped, or rubbed? As a man thinketh in his heart so is he. We need to relent and defer to His holy course, His Word. He knows our frame. Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart. King David asked
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
At times we may be clever to avoid detection by others, but not so with our Lord, He knows and understands who we really are and what we are about. Looking at Nathaniel while he sat under a fig tree, Jesus said “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” (John 1:47). God’s work in us, the softening and the giving of understanding, chips away at our hard stony heart and allows us to view our own weakness and inadequacy and God’s perfect love and creates in us a thankful heart. We can say with David “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4). Yes, know and realize that He, the altogether lovely One, went to exceeding great lengths to rescue you and I to give us life! At our core as well as on our surface, we are no different from those that wandered in the desert. The place in which we wander may look different from theirs, but we still contain within us the propensity to whine and complain just as much, and to be discontent or even shake our fist at our Rescuer and Redeemer. Will we lean on our own understanding and the arm of the flesh? Or will we trust our loving merciful Savior? His grace is sufficient to come and deliver us from ourselves. Sometimes we have stinking thinking, but rest assured that he who began a good work in us will continue and his love never fails. He is relentless to come and show us the way. And gentleness and great meekness he gives correction and guidance as we acknowledge him he leads us.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Posted in Devotions by Joe Lingelbach with 3 comments.