And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” – Numbers 20:12
In Numbers chapter twenty we find what seems to be a shocking and seemingly unfair punishment for Moses. Moses has been God’s appointed leader for Israel for many years at this point. He went before Pharaoh and asked for Israel to be released from their slavery in Egypt. He led the people in their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, even though the people rebelled and were afraid to enter the land. Moses then leads the people for another forty years of wandering in the desert because of their disobedience in not entering the land. Moses has seen it all with his fellow Israelites. Moments of great worship and joy to the Lord, but also great rebellion against the Lord by the people.
Once again here in chapter twenty the people rebel against God and complain to Moses about the lack of water. Have these people learned nothing about how God has provided for them? Yet, again they complain and come to Moses for help. Moses at this point must feel like a parent that deals with the same problems with their kids over and over and over again. Moses finally snaps and has had it with his people. Moses goes before God and gets instruction to “speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.” However, Moses, out of frustration, calls the people rebels, hits the rock with his staff twice, and then takes credit for the water that flows. Moses has not followed God’s instruction and as punishment God tells Moses that he will not enter the Promised Land. Israel’s great leader will not enter the land that he has been leading to people towards. This must have been a terrible disappointment for Moses. Moses did not listen and acted on his own out of his frustration with the Israelites.
We can become frustrated with many things in life. Life has a way of throwing things in our path; often times we just want to deal with it in our own way instead of taking it to God and seeking His wisdom. I think we will find that the more we try and do things our way, the more and more frustration will end up growing. When we take the time and bring things before God and seek His wisdom, and then follow His wisdom, we can see the bigger picture in life. Moses took his own path and it ended up costing him the chance to see the great Promised Land; what will it cost us when we try to handle things our way and not God’s way?