Understanding the Old Testament

Moses' Critical Mistakes

(All quotations are from the New American Standard Bible translation)

The people came to Kadesh, where they found no water. Once again the people despaired, certain that they would die of thirst in this “wretched place.” (Numbers 20:5)

The Lord did not get angry this time, for He had a plan that seemed certain to impress the people: He instructed Moses to assemble the people and speak to the rock, which would then pour forth water for them to drink. (Numbers 20:6-8)

So Moses assembled the people. And sure enough, water gushed from the rock. But Moses angered the Lord because he made two mistakes. First, rather than praising God for the miracle that was about to occur, Moses gave the credit to himself and Aaron: “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10; emphasis added) Second, instead of merely speaking to the rock, as the Lord had instructed, Moses struck the rock with his rod—twice. (Numbers 20:11)

Thus, an incredible miracle was cheapened in the people’s sight. By striking the rock, Moses allowed the possibility of a naturalistic explanation. And by failing to give God the credit, he exalted himself at God’s expense.

For this transgression, the Lord decreed that Moses would never enter the Promised Land. (Numbers 20:12) He would eventually see the Promised Land from Mount Pisgah, but he would die before the Israelites entered it. (Deuteronomy 34:1-5).

.Question to ponder or discuss: I believe God still does miracles today. Indeed, my son would not be alive today without a miracle from God. However, sometimes we miss His miracles because we chalk them up to coincidence or good luck. (A saying wrongly attributed to Albert Einstein goes like this: A coincidence is when God performs a miracle and chooses to remain anonymous.) What miracles has God accomplished for you in your lifetime?

Copyright 2018 by Don Davidson

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