Misrepresented God … by Sherry Lingelbach

Today’s Passage – Numbers 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 25 – 28Proverbs 22Psalms 106 – 110)

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. 

Sherry Lingelbach

Joe and Sherry Lingelbach

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