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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

February 19, 2021

Daily Reading: Numbers 18-20

Numbers 20:1

Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.

Have you had a bad day? Moses did. His bad day stretched into several and ended with a devastating result. It started with Miriam's (Moses' sister) death. Then the people did not even let Moses grieve, they rebelled again against God, complaining because of the lack of water. It was so bad that they actually wished they were dead. To alleviate their issue God told Moses to speak to the rock again that it may bring forth water. This rock is first mentioned in Exodus 17 wherein God told Moses to strike the rock, he did, and water gushed out. But here, Moses was told to speak to the rock. But remember, Moses was having a bad day.

Coming to the rock Moses said, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? From this we gather that this leader, the one of whom Numbers 12:3 says that he was the meekest man upon the face of the earth, was angry. So much so that instead of talking to the rock he struck it twice. He was commanded to only speak to it, but he hit it a second time. His bad day, or days, caused him momentarily to lose his composure. He made a bad decision, and it cost him dearly.

What was the cost. He disqualified himself from leading Israel into the promise land. Both he and Aaron (Miriam and Moses' brother) were guilty before God of a serious infraction. The result is found in Numbers 20:12. 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. No triumphant entry for them, no satisfaction of a job well done, no sense of accomplishment, they would die in the wilderness wanderings just like the others of Israel that disobeyed God.

Yesterday we spoke of leaders; today we learn that God's leaders are not above the chastening hand of God. Moses wasn't and Aaron wasn't. The Lord judged their transgression to be so severe that he banished them from the privilege of living in the promise land. Why was this hitting of the rock the second time so serious?

Because of the truth found in I Corinthians 10:4. And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. The rock that brought forth the life-giving water was Jesus Christ. By hitting the rock the second time, Moses polluted the Gospel picture, for Christ was only stricken or crucified once. Not twice. He is not crucified over and over and over again; He was offered once for the sins of the entire world. Of this Hebrews 10:26 is clear: For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, There is no second sacrifice for sins, when we sin we can only go back to the one sacrifice for sins, Christ on the cross. However, sin does bring judgment and fiery indignation of God just as the very next verse of Hebrews (10:27) warns about.

Moses should have known better, but he didn't have Hebrews 10:26-27, it had not been written yet. But he did have the Word of God on the matter. God said to speak to the rock, not strike it. Had it not been for his bad day, Moses may not have lost his temper. But he did, and he paid the price. After all, there is always a price to be paid for disobedience to God's Word. Always.

Praise Him for His grace, mercy, and forgiveness that abounds today, for without these three what would we do?

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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