Read Numbers 20
I wonder if Moses had just had enough of dealing with these people. I wonder if, when he found himself on his face at the feet of the Lord yet again, he couldn’t hear God’s actual words. Maybe all he could hear over his noisy, frustrated thoughts was something about a rock and some water.
Did Moses rush out of God’s Presence ready to use God’s hand yet again to prove the Israelites wrong? Had he grown so confident in the job God had called him to that he thought he’d take a step out on his own?
They were in the land near Kadesh. The Wilderness of Zin. We’ve seen this place before. About thirty-seven years ago. Remember the ten spies who scared the Israelites out of believing God’s promise for the land just over the border?
The entire generation of Israelites, who had seen God turn water into walls before letting loose the torrent on their pursuing Egyptian enemies, lost the gift God had promised. Their children would enter the land, but none of them would. Only the two spies who believed God at His word. (See Numbers 13.)
Being back at Kadesh no doubt brought back terrible memories for Moses.
I have to wonder if that pre-empted his frustration. Did that painful remembering trigger Moses’ and Aaron’s dealings with God? Had they finally succumbed to the negative influence these people had been giving?
That they could be so close to the fulfillment of the Promise, converse with God so humbly, and see His glory with their own eyes then turn around and disobey God seems hard to grasp from this side of the story.
God told them to speak to the rock in front of the Israelites. He said His Word would give water for their thirst. But Moses spoke instead to the Israelites. He used staff to smack the rock rather than trusting God’s Word to do it.
Moses and Aaron chose to ignore the power of the Word of God.
By that same power, that same Word, God provided living water for us hundreds of years later when the Word became flesh and dwelt among mankind. The Word that has the power to heal our lives and give us real and forever life.
Do you trust God’s Word?