There are sometimes we sin and the consequences are such that we grit out teeth over them the rest of our lives. Yes, we are forgiven. Yes, we move on. But oh the pain of the consequences.
Lately I’ve been pondering Moses and what an amazing man of faith he was. Many us, at least I think I’m speaking for many of us, are excited when God comes through for us. And yet when the next obstacle comes, we fret, worry and wonder if he’s going to come through “this time.”
Each time he believed God would do it again.
- Plague? No worries. God is going to bring miraculous judgment again.
- Trapped against the red sea? God will hear our cries
- No food? He’ll provide
But not the people that followed him. Whenever it got hard, they complained bitterly against him. Time and time and time again.
Moses was exhausted. Singularly leading so may people was beyond human. And then their bitter complaints? They did not sit well in his spirit. He was known as the most humble man and yet they were constantly attacking his authority, his decisions, and his leadership. But the complaining bitterly really got him.
When they ran out of water, instead of bending their knee and seeking the Lord, they assembled together. Actually assembled. And complained bitterly against Moses.
Where is the promised land of good food?
Milk and honey?
Where is water? Those who died are way better off.
It still like a burr in Moses’ craw. When he sought the Lord the Lord told him to strike the rock/speak to the rock. For whatever reason Moses struck it twice in his anger. Yes, the water flowed. But the Lord said this.
“Because you did not trust Me to show My holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land I have given them” (Num 20:12).
After all that work, after all the times of trusting the Lord, this one painful moment would bar Moses from the Promised Land. He would later plead with God to change his mind (Deut 3:23-28), but the Lord did not relent.
So. Utterly. Painful.
He suffered greatly and endured a terrible burden to get the goal of his heart, and now that goal was forfeited. Talk about discipline.
Why was God angry?
There are many speculations. Perhaps because he struck the rock twice and the rock was the symbol of The Rock–Jesus. Perhaps it was the way he did it. We don’t know 100% for sure. But we do know this:
As a leader of the people of Israel, in front of them he did not trust the Lord and honor his holiness. This was a grave offense. He let his anger cloud his trust and obedience in the Lord in front of the people.
If the Lord hadn’t of disciplined Moses, they might for generations have thought they could treat the Lord’s holiness with contempt. Or that God would just forgive their defying his sacredness. It would have been awful.
The greater our position in leadership, the greater our responsibility before God.
God takes seriously our trust in Him and honoring of the sacredness and holiness of his decrees.
Sometimes even if God wants to show mercy for consequences, but the implications are are more deadly.