I want to focus on Numbers 20:1-13. There is a lot going on in here- God performs another miracle to provide the Israelites water, but at the end of the passage, Moses and Aaron are punished by not being able to enter the Promised Land. My study Bible made it clear that it is really unknown what the offense was that was so grievous in order for Moses and Aaron to recieve such a harsh response. However, one of the main guesses is that the grievance was because The Lord instructs Moses to speak to the rock to produce a spring of water, but instead Moses strikes it. There were other ideas also, such as when Moses speaks to the people it seems like he takes credit for the miracle instead of giving the credit to the Lord. We could spend a lot of time guessing which one it is, I tend to think it probably was a combination of all of them. But the first one stuck with me a little more than the others.
The Lord told Moses to speak to the rock, but when the time came Moses struck the rock with his staff instead. Yes, it was disobedient, but in the large scheme of things, it doesn’t seem like it would be that big of a deal. Was Moses just forgetful? Maybe he didn’t remember the exact instructions. But it clearly is a really big deal. I looked into the footnotes in my Bible and it says that striking the rock itself couldn’t have been a problem because that is how the Lord asked Moses to do it before. That was how it had happened before! What if the reason why Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it was because he was trying to duplicate what the Lord had done before? Maybe he had a moment of doubting and so he went back to what worked before. You would think that because Moses had been through all this stuff, had spoken to God face to face, that he wouldn’t struggle with the faith that God could do what He said. However, why else would Moses strike the rock instead of speaking to it? I really doubt he just forgot the instructions. And I think this might have been the case. And if it was, to me, that would have explained such a severe consequence.
The Lord is a living person… being… you know what I mean. And we see that Moses has a real life relationship with Him. Repeating how God chose to do something in the past removes the relational aspect of interacting with Him, and turns it more into a vending machine. I put in my money, hit this button and get this in return. But God doesn’t want us to act like this towards Him, He wants us to relate to Him.
And how many times do we slip into this type of mindset with God? We go back to the most memorable (or easiest/nicest) experience we’ve had with Him and try to continue repeating the past. How many times does a new instruction scare us? It easily scares me. And I struggle with the spontaneity that naturally comes with being in relationship with Almighty God. I can’t always figure it out, and I definitely can’t control it or anticipate what is going to happen next. So I struggle with wanting to repeat the past because it isn’t these things. It is much more planned, structured, safe and predictable.
But it isn’t the adventure that doing life following God should be….