Numbers 20:1-13 is where the Israelites are complaining to Moses (again) about the lack of water. Moses and Aaron get on their faces and seek God and He gives very clear instructions:
Moses SPEAK to the rock and I will bring forth water. So Moses gathers the people and he STRIKES the rock and God (in His mercy) brings forth water.
Afterward, God disciplines Moses and Aaron and tells them because they didn’t “believe” Him enough to “sanctify” Him they would not be able to enter the promised land.
I have to tell you, for most of my life I’ve thought God was a little harsh on this. I mean the complaining Israelites would have been enough to make anyone crazy and after all there were so many times Moses had gotten it exactly right was this one time really worth robbing him of the pleasure of completing the work his life had been set aside to do? Apparently, God thought so. Thankfully, I have enough reverence for God now that I realize *I* must be the one who doesn’t understand.
Let’s look for a moment at the heart of what God’s saying. He said they didn’t “believe” – the Hebrew word here is “aman” meaning to “support, confirm, be faithful.” Essentially God’s saying they were unfaithful. Which they were, because they did not obey the instructions God had given. (Side note that I’m not addressing is you also have to feel for Aaron… after all, Moses is the one who strikes the rock! It’s important to pray for your leadership to be aligned
God also said, by not believing (i.e. being faithful, supporting His instructions) they did not sanctify Him. The Hebrew word here is “qadash” meaning “honored as holy.” The word holy has a number of meanings but a pertinent one that jumped out to me was “worth of complete devotion or trust.” In other words their actions showed God as not worthy of trust. Ouch!
Let’s pause for a moment and consider how many times we do this in our own lives. How often does God ask us to do things – even perhaps seemingly small things – and we disobey or don’t obey completely (which is still disobedience) or delay before obeying (which also can be disobedience). In doing so we are demonstrating to the world that God is not worthy of our trust.
But the fact is He is the only one who IS completely worthy of our trust. He is faithful. The only way we can honor God as faithful is to believe Him and to show Him as holy is to trust Him without reserve. Radical obedience. Truly there is no other kind… anything else would involve disobedience. It is that black and white… we either do what He says, or we don’t.
I think this point hits home for me so much right now because we are in a place of radical obedience in our lives. Most people think we’re a bit crazy. But how logical is it to speak to a rock and expect water to come out of it? He is God. We need to stop putting Him in a box and lay down the idol of our need to understand and simply walk in faith. Trust He is wiser than us. Trust that His plans for us are good. Trust that He knows what He’s doing. Believe and obey.
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