Case Study: Moses hits the rock
Exodus 17:16, Numbers 20:6-12
Many people over the years have listened from God and obeyed his voice. Equally, many more listened from God but did not obey him: they chose not to obey. Some more people never heard from God and so they had nothing to obey!
In the above groups, there has been direct impact of their choice and equal consequences of their actions determined by their choices.
Moses was a man who spoke with God face to face. He was a great leader yet compassionate and humble. Whenever there was a big challenge, Moses would inquire about many decisions from the Lord.
In Numbers 20:1, When the children of Israel came into the Desert of Zin at a place called Kadesh, the children of Israel started to complain against Moses for lack of water.
In Numbers 20:6, Moses and Aron went away from the children of Israel to the entrance of the tent and fell face down. They were angry and discouraged.
Why was Moses angry and discouraged?
- About One and a half month ago, the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt. They witnessed the great deliverance of the Lord through the many miracles that were perfomed. Exodus 16:1 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt.
- Within this time, they had passed through the Red Sea. Moses parted the see by raising his staff and made a dry path by the power of the Lord. Exodus 14:16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.
- They had been given manna from heaven. Exodus 16:4a Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.
All these times, Israelite had grumbled and complained in a particular manner that would drive anyone crazy.
- Exodus 14:11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?
- Exodus 16: 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
- Exodus 17: 3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
The children of Israel felt very much entitled. They failed to trust God through disbelief.
When God gave Moses the instructions to speak to the rock, he instead struck the rock twice. Numbers 20: “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.” Moses was very angered by the children of israel.
And God was not happy with his servant Moses. Moses, in the madness of the anger from the children of Israel, disobeyed God. Numbers 20:12 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.”
In exodus 17:6, when the children of Israel came out of the Desert of Zin to a place called Rephidim, The Israelites complained once again against Moses and God. It had not taken long with them after they saw what God had done by providing water at Kadesh. And here they were again almost to stone Moses! God told Moses again to go and struck the rock again.
This time, After Moses obeyed by striking the stone, there was no consequences. Exodus 17:I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.
Few facts about God's word.
- God respects his word above all other things or people. Moses was a great friend of God. But when he failed to obey God, He was judged and condemned.
- God is not a respecter of persons. If you obey God he will use you. if you don't obey God, he will cut you off.
- God is a God of instructions. You need to listen and dutifully carry out God's instructions
- God will hold you accountable to what He has told you to do. Whether other people caused you to disobey God, He will hold you accountable to what he told you.
Consequences of not Obeying God:
- There are serious consequences from God for not obeying Him. Numbers 20:12 “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.”
- Some consequences are permanent and can not be reversed. Not even by repenting and carrying out the instructions again.
- The Children of Israel who were complaining never entered Canaan. Hebrew 3:16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief
- Destinies are destroyed by not obeying God.
- Promises are broken and shuttered.
- People mark-time all their lives in areas they were supposed to overcome and conquer and move to their promises
Let us obey God
Now if you obey me fullyand keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”