Numbers 20 – Swinging at Rocks

If you’ve ever had trouble following directions, you can relate to Moses. There was a specific time in Moses’ life when failing to follow God’s directions cost him dearly.

In Numbers chapter 20, God tells Moses to gather everyone in front of a rock and speak to the rock, that it might provide water for the grumbling Israelites. But rather than speaking to the rock, Moses strikes the rock with his staff. Because of this, Moses was not permitted to enter into the Promised Land.

You may be thinking, “What’s so bad about striking the rock?” There’s two problems with it:

  • Moses’ actions drew attention to himself, rather than God. Before he strikes the rock, Moses says, “Shall we bring water for you from this rock?” Moses is taking credit. When Scripture says, “he raised his arm,” I wonder if he wasn’t being a little bit dramatic in the process.
  • Moses’ actions gave the appearance that it was his power, rather than God’s.  God wanted the children of Israel to trust in His provision, not Moses’ abilities. But when Moses chose to take matters into his own hands, it was hard to distinguish who pulled off the miracle.

Now it’s easy to feel smug and think, “I know that Moses was frustrated with the people’s complaining, but how could he not see how badly he was blowing it?”

But, before we get too smug, we should ask ourselves some pointed questions:

  • How often have we drawn attention to ourselves rather than God?
  • How often have we acted as if God was at our beck-and-call, rather than we at His?
  • How often have we raised our arms, rather than our faith?

When you look at your life…are there rocks you’re swinging at in frustration, rather than speaking to in faith? Ask God to give you the faith to follow His directions.

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