But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!" Numbers 20:12
As we end our study of the life of Moses this week, we need to acknowledge one last moment in Moses' life where he most likely said, "what just happened?" The moment in his life that we are studying today is a moment where he let his anger and frustration overcome him, and as a result, he faced devastating consequences. The hope in this situation, however, is that God still proved Himself to be merciful despite Moses' attitude.
After Moses and the Israelites escaped from the Egyptian army, they continued to walk toward the land that God had promised them. During this time, the Israelites spent much time complaining. In Numbers 20, they complained because they did not have any water. Now, let's acknowledge that water is a very important thing to have, and without water, a human being will die after three days. God spoke to Moses, letting him know that if he spoke to the rock in front of the Israelites, water would flow from that rock. Moses was extremely frustrated and yelled at the Israelites for their complaining, so he struck the rock two times in his anger. In His mercy, God provided enough water for every complaining Israelite and their animals. He also provided water for Moses, even though he lashed out in anger. However, because of his anger, God told Moses that he would not be the person to lead Israel into the promised land (Numbers 20:12). In spite of all of these things, God continued to provide for the Israelites, including Moses, throughout their entire lifetime. They always had food and water. You see, God is merciful in our wilderness. He is always taking care of His people, including you and me.
We often become like Moses, too, don't we? We get frustrated and angry that God's plan isn't moving as fast as we would have liked it to. We get impatient and take matters into our own hands. If that is you today, friend, let me remind you that God is with you. He is slow to anger and abounding in love.
My friend, God is taking care of you. He is providing for you along the way. Even when we face consequences for our complaining and mistakes, God continues to be merciful and provide along the way. Praise God that His mercies are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22)
Despite Moses' actions, God continued to show mercy. Because of God's love and mercy, believers are also called to show mercy to others. Is there someone in your life who you need to reach out to and show mercy to? Reach out to them today. Show someone undeserved forgiveness or kindness today. As you do this, remind that person you reach out to how loving and merciful God is.
Read Numbers 20:1-13 (NLT)
In the first month of the year, the whole community of Israel arrived in the wilderness of Zin and camped at Kadesh. While they were there, Miriam died and was buried.
There was no water for the people to drink at that place, so they rebelled against Moses and Aaron. The people blamed Moses and said, “If only we had died in the Lord’s presence with our brothers! Why have you brought the congregation of the Lord’s people into this wilderness to die, along with all our livestock? Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us here to this terrible place? This land has no grain, no figs, no grapes, no pomegranates, and no water to drink!”
Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where they fell face down on the ground. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord said to Moses, “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.”
So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord. Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill.
But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” This place was known as the waters of Meribah (which means “arguing”) because there the people of Israel argued with the Lord, and there he demonstrated his holiness among them.