A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
I need You to be my Savior, Jesus. Be with me now.
Read Numbers 20:1–13
Water From the Rock
20 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.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhen you commit the same sins again, how does God treat you?
Forty years have passed (Num. 33:38). The generation of people who left Egypt have died in the wilderness because of their disobedience. Will their children be any different? Sadly not.
Their grumbling mirrors their parents’ complaint in Exodus 17 when they were thirsty and God gave them water from a rock. These waters are even given the same name: Meribah, which means grumbling.
Sin is predictable, repetitive, and boring. Surprisingly however, the focus of the story this time is not on the people’s, but on Moses’ sin. Moses was told to bring his staff, gather the people and speak to the rock. He brings his staff and gathers the people. But then he speaks to the people and strikes the rock. He calls the people “rebels,” which they were. But he’s judging them. God hadn’t rebuked them; he was going to be gracious to them and give them water. And Moses sees himself as their Savior, saying, “Shall we bring water for you…?” (10). Then, in his anger, he strikes the rock that symbolized God’s presence with them. Twice.
And God judges Moses and Aaron for not honoring him (12). They too will fall in the wilderness and not enter into rest in God’s Promised Land. They cannot save God’s people.
How can you thank God today? Make a list. Some things you could include: thank God for Jesus, whom God struck for your sins—all of them.
Pray that God will help you to trust and obey him today and not to sin against him.