Ever notice how fervent we pray when we are in the glue, and how easy it is to forget to pray when everything is going well? Or how we grumble and complain when we encounter challenge and unmet needs? Yup – we need to watch our grumbling and check our pride…
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.
Seriously… every time something doesn’t go their way, Israel acts like my teenagers. God had been so faithful to them over and over, demonstrating his love and power and salvation, and then when they cannot find water in the desert, they gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. Why did you bring us here to die? They ask the same question over and over.
Again, they are like teenagers who don’t appreciate everything their parents do for them as soon as things don’t go their way. Which makes me wonder, am I like that with God when things don’t go my way? Do I grumble and complain when I encounter challenge and unmet needs? Honestly… I think I do sometimes. How about you?
God was gracious with Israel, as he had been over and over. He provided Moses and Aaron with instructions to demonstrate God’s power and provision. When Moses struck the rock with his staff, water gushed out and the community and their livestock drank. That’s the last we hear from the grumblers.
Interesting how quickly they silence themselves when their need is met. Fickle, just like me. Ever notice how fervent we pray when we are in the glue, and how easy it is to forget to pray when everything is going well? That was Israel, and that’s probably you and me…
The attention in the story, however, turns to Moses and Aaron. Notice that they don’t follow God’s instruction exactly. Moses was to speak to the rock and he hit it with his staff. The consequence for them was that they would not enter the Promised Land with the rest of Israel. Stiff penalty.
This makes me think that there must have been a bit of pride creeping into Moses and Aaron’s heads – God was seeing something that he needed to deal with in their lives. They had tremendous access to God, yet they were perhaps taking it a bit for granted… Again, this is likely something we struggle with at times.
God sees our pride and knows our needs. And out of that knowledge and his care for our best, the Lord will discipline us and deal us a knock or two when we need to be humbled. This is what happened to Moses and Aaron. Has this happened to you?
This is a good reminder to watch our grumbling and check our pride. We serve the God who brings water forth from rocks…