Don’t Lose Out!

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Numbers 20:12 (NIV)
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.”

Numbers 20:12 (MSG)
God said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you didn’t trust me, didn’t treat me with holy reverence in front of the People of Israel, you two aren’t going to lead this company into the land that I am giving them.”
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“But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed (trusted) Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, you therefore shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” -AMPLIFIED

Numbers chapter 20 shares with us the story of how Moses lost his chance of entering the Promise Land. We find after wandering the wilderness for 38 years the people of Israel are once again approaching the borders of Canaan. At this point in time we are given a few pieces of pertinent information in the opening verses of Numbers 20:

1.) The whole Israelite community had arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh.
2.) Miriam died and was buried here.
3.) There was no water in the area.
4.) Because of the lack of water the people rose up in opposition of Moses and Aaron.

We find, in fact, that the people ganged up on them; attacking Moses. “They attacked Moses: “We wish we’d died when the rest of our brothers died before God. Why did you haul this congregation of God out here into this wilderness to die, people and cattle alike? And why did you take us out of Egypt in the first place, dragging us into this miserable country? No grain, no figs, no grapevines, no pomegranates—and now not even any water!” -Numbers 20:3-5 (MSG)

Moses and Aaron responded to these accusations in the best way they could. Instead of confrontation, they walked away and sought audience with the Most High. Scripture tells us, “Moses and Aaron walked from the assembled congregation to the Tent of Meeting and threw themselves face-down on the ground. And they saw the Glory of God. God spoke to Moses: “Take the staff. Assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to that rock that’s right in front of them and it will give water. You will bring water out of the rock for them; congregation and cattle will both drink.” -Numbers 20:6-8 (MSG)

God given Moses direction on how to deal with the situation:
1.) Take the staff; the one that God had equipped Moses with,
2.) Assemble the whole community of people in front of the rock,
3.) Speak to the rock right in front of the people; for God wanted all the people to see His mighty work.
God tells Moses once he has accomplished these directives then the rock would give water and the water that came out would be enough for the whole community as well as the cattle.

So, Moses took the staff as God commanded. Aaron gathered the people together in front of the rock. Once assembled Moses spoke, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” (verse 10 NIV) Next we see exactly what happened and why Moses lost his chance to enter the Promise Land. “Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.” – (verse 11 NIV)

Instead of speaking to the rock as God had commanded him to do, Moses struck the rock; not once, but twice. Out of anger Moses disobeyed God. The footnote in the Amplified Version shares these thoughts, “Moses apparently allowed his anger and frustration with the Israelites to blind him to the significance of what God had instructed. Although thoroughly exasperated by the Israelites, Moses was still held accountable for his behavior.”

God pointedly spoke to Moses and Aaron once again; “Because you didn’t trust Me and treat Me as holy before the Israelites, you will not lead this group into the land I have given them.” (VOICE) Moses and Aaron blew it! God was not pleased. Numbers 20:13 tells us that this place was called Meribah for this reason; “These are the waters of Meribah (contention, strife), where the sons of Israel contended with the Lord, and He showed Himself holy among them.” -(AMP)

Once again, we find two people missing out on God’s blessing because they disobeyed and did things their own way. Aaron dies shortly after this incident; Moses a little later. Let us not lose sight of the fact that God still did the miracle of bringing water from the rock; despite Moses disobedience in hitting the rock instead of speaking to the rock. God still did His part, but Moses did not do his. God was still faithful, Moses was not. God uses imperfect people to bring about His perfect will. Are you not glad of that fact? Be careful though that you don’t lose out on God’s perfect will for your life because of disobedience.

My Prayer:
Lord God, I know I am an imperfect person. I often mess things up; sometimes out of disobedience, other times because I am jumping ahead of your plans. Forgive me, Lord. Help me to faithfully follow the directions that give me. Help me to listen for your still, small voice, and follow the loving, caring instructions. You have good things in store for me; this I know. Help me to patiently wait on you and obediently follow your commands. I will trust you. Lead on, Almighty.

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