Week Thirteen: Day 5

    April 05, 2024 | Be God's Light

    Moses Denied Promised Land for Disobedience

    Scripture: Numbers 20:1-13, 22-29 (NIV)

    1 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.

    2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! 4 Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? 5 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!”

    6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7 The Lord said to Moses, 8 “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.”

    9 So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

    12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

    13 These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.

    22 The whole Israelite community set out from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 23 At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24 “Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor. 26 Remove Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people; he will die there.”

    27 Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. 28 Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29 and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, all the Israelites mourned for him thirty days.


    It was just one little word. God said “speak,” not “strike.” When the people grumbled for the umpteenth time, God told Moses to gather the people together then, “Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.” So Moses gathered the assembly, “raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out.”

    Why would Moses strike the rock when God clearly told him to speak to the rock? It’s simple. His past success deafened him to God’s present instructions. Back in Exodus 17:6, just after the people were freed from slavery, they quarreled with Moses about a lack of water. That time God told Moses, “Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” He did so, and it worked.

    But this time, God said, “speak to the rock.” Moses just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) hear God clearly. He reverted to what worked before. He was trusting in his own leadership skills rather than honoring God as holy in the sight of the people. For that, Moses and Aaron were told they would not enter the Promised Land. This had to be a gargantuan disappointment.

    Years later, when God was preparing Joshua to lead the people into the Promised Land, Moses wrote, “At that time I pleaded with the Lord: “Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan”
    (Deuteronomy 3:23-25).

    God’s answer was to the point: “That is enough… Do not speak to me anymore about this matter… But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land” (Deuteronomy 3:26-28).

    We don’t always get everything we want. Sometimes we stumble over sin, get detoured with disobedience, or just wander in the wilderness. Other times God has different plans in place for our lives. Though Moses was discouraged that he would not get to experience the finish line, he continued to lead the people for years to come right up to it.

    What is on your bucket list? Have you ever asked God what His bucket list for your life is? If you made a Venn diagram of God’s and your bucket lists, what would overlap and what would not?


    Beating The Rock

    My anger
    Is so great
    Against my brothers
    My sisters
    I begin beating
    The Rock
    Taking my anger out
    Upon God's
    Generous servant
    Instead of
    God's Word
    Is enough
    It is what creates
    And brings forth

    back to be god's light