Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Moses failing sin

Numbers 20:7-12 “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou and Aaron thy bother, and speak ye unto the Rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth His water,….

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: and the water came out abundantly and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

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.”

To be frank, Moseos like all of us, sinned many times…presumption when he killed an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-12)

Doubting and fear at the fiery bush (Exodus 3:11, 4:1, 10)

Losing his patience and becoming angry and breaking the first stones that contained the Ten Commandments, because of the sin in the camp (Exodus 32:19)

Unbelief for quail (Numbers 11:23)

Listening to the suggestions of the people about searching the land

(Deuteronomy 1:21-23)

But then….

…being peeved and rebellious…..and losing out of God’s best.

Moses had been leading them a long time…..surely by now he would have learned about human nature…..and trials.

They do not mix….they only bring out the worst in people’s emotions, if they do not believe God.

When we trust in God,….even in the worst of times… brings out the best in us….for our eyes are ever toward the Lord….and we shine as lights in the darkness and storm….

…….but, trials and troubles bring out our fears, anxieties, anger, and grumbles in our old man… we do not believe the Lord…..only bringing more troubles.

Perhaps it was the nearness of the wanderings finally coming to an end…..perhaps Moses let these people “wear him down”….so that he was not completely trusting in the “I Am” that sent him on his ministry….

Whatever the internal struggle…..Moses should have gathered himself together when God gave him direction… that he was right within himself…before the Lord….

….and made sure he followed God’s direction.

We all know that Moses should have spoken to the Rock, the second time….but he sinned and struck it again….twice.

(The first time he was to strike the Rock with his rod….symbolizing Christ smitten for us and the flowing out of life to us! Exodus 17:5-6

But the second time, he was to speak to it…..symbolizing our speaking to Him in heaven, and the flowing out of the Holy Spirit to us in our circumstances!)

Moses failing sin was in several parts (like most of our sin)…..but it began inside of him….

He was “provoked”….(Psalm 106:32-33 “They angered him also at the waters of strife……because they provoked his spirit,…”)

“Provoke” here means “to make bitter, to cause to resist.”

Now Moses did not start to resist God, but Israel’s complaining….


…..he did not deal with this. He should have gone to God and said:

“Lord, I am angry with this people because they continually want….without turning to You. They are angry with me all the time. Please help me to see things in Your way without my own murmuring.”

He should have reasoned with himself:

“God knows them….if He wants me to do this a certain way….He knows what is best…..I will honor Him, no matter what they do.”

But he did not….

….instead he became “provoked” with Israel…and then with God.

Which lead to:

Unbelieving. (Numbers 20:12) “….because ye believed Me not….”

When I first read this, years ago…..I could not believe it! Moses, not believe the Lord? But belief is an active grace…..not something we store in a drawer like a deed or a will.

And Moses did not believe God. He thought he knew what to do for this rebellious people! (And probably this was only a few minutes of reasoning…that brought terrible consequences for him)

Which lead to:

“….and spake unadvisedly with his lips…” (Psalm 106:32-33)

With bitterness in his heart (what a warning for us)…..Moses opened his mouth and let loose his unguarded feelings….”Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this Rock?”

Was that the way God spoke about this need… matter how the congregation spoke……how did God speak?

He did not call them “rebels”. There was only one reason Moses “must” fetch water out of this Rock…..God’s Will….

….and that is what our eyes should always look for….nothing else….or it will hinder our words and work… it did Moses’s

Which lead to:

He did not sanctify the Lord before the people. “To sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel”.

God did know Israel’s hearts…..He did know their need to see a Rock…..flowing with water for them…..because of words.

If Moses would have obeyed…..he would have shown them that their words, too, could bring outfrom God, a blessing.

And finally, it was called “rebellion against His commandment.” (Numbers 27:14)

Moses came to see the awfulness of letting his bitterness get in the way of God’s plan and Will….and marring a lesson that God wanted Israel to have.

What of us?

In a world filled with anger, bitterness, strife, hatred…..where do we fit in?

Will we let it “get to us” and respond in kind?

Or will we deal with those provocations which come up…..before the Lord,…

….and go out into the world….with His Word….and in His peace?

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