by David Thompson
This is an interesting passage. It once again shows the impatience of the Israelite community. Easy for me to say when I can read through the books of Exodus and Numbers in a few weeks and the Israelites had to live this desert wandering for 40 years. Even with that said, God had done a lot for these people. From getting them freed from their captors, to crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, to killing the Egyptians that chased them. This is not to mention that God provided doves, manna and water when needed. Even with all of this the Israelites complained and cast "shade" on all God had done. A good example of which is seen in Numbers 2:2-5. It states, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD! Why did you bring the LORD’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”
I'm sorry but even reading this makes me want to expel them from God's and my presence. Luckily for the Israelites, God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish. At least at this point in the story God gave the Israelite people another chance. Instead of punishing them, He called Moses and Aaron together and gave them another miracle. See verses 6-8 to see how the Lord provided once again for the needs of His people.
This next part is a bit tricky as Moses was commanded "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” So far so good right??
What did Moses do to anger the Lord? In verse 11 it states that "Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank." Sounds good, but the Lord specifically said to "speak to the rock" and Moses struck it not once but twice. When God or His Holy Spirit tells you to do something, you better listen carefully. Moses and Aaron didn't and there was a price to pay. They would not lead the people into the Promised Land. (For you bible scholars the Lord relented slightly and did let Moses see the Promised Land from a distance).
Take a few minutes to consider how God has answered prayer in your life. Was He faithful to His promises?
Thank you so much for being a loving, patient and forgiving God. We praise you for all you have done in your people's lives and your church's existence. Make us aware when we get on a negative time in our walk and remind us that you are always there. Amen.