Speak or Strike? Your Choice
“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. The Lord said to Moses, “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.” So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 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?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. 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.”” Numbers 20:6-12 NIV
Full disclosure—I’m frustrated. I know that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, but anyone else feel like “can we just get on one accord, God?” The extra saved saints may not get that feeling, but it’s real for me! I have the scriptures to apply to my life and I have testimonies of when God showed up miraculously, but if I’m being 100% transparent, I can relate to Moses’ feelings in this particular text.
Some people like to read this scripture and see Moses as disobedient. And I mean, technically, yes, he was. But deeper than that, Moses was frustrated. God gave him these people to lead, he’s trying to do his job, and the wilderness is making him feel like God has forgotten them. Like He has reneged on His promises to him.
Have you ever felt that way, too? You’re so excited and expectant when God gives you the word, but when He leads you into the wilderness, it catches you completely off guard. And don’t even mention when he keeps you there for what seems like an eternity. It’s super frustrating!
You want to say, “ok God you said I’d be the lender and not the borrower, but my credit cards are maxed. You said pray and fast for my children, I did, but they still acting a fool. You said that my cup would overflow, yet I’m looking at nothing but past due bills and rising gas prices. I have to make something happen. I can’t just speak to these rocks anymore!”
If I could have a chat with Moses about this text, I’d tell him I get it. It made sense to strike the rock.
But striking doesn’t leave room for God’s power. And that was the issue!
God gave Moses specific instructions. He told him “speak to the rock.” That allows God to be God. As humans, we can’t speak to anything and it manifests without the power of God behind us. God was trying to show the Israelites that despite the wilderness, He’s still the same God that brought them out of Egypt. He’s still the same God that parted the Red Sea. He’s still “I Am!” When Moses struck the rock, it replaced God as the provider and made it seem as if the water flowed because of Moses. We can never make ourselves God! And that’s how Moses lost access to the promised land.
When we date out of the frustration of being single or take on new jobs out of the frustration of our salary or move to a different city out of frustration with our environment, we are striking the rock.
What has God told you to speak to, but you’re striking? Is your frustration worth forfeiting God’s promises?