JESUS, NO EXCUSES!
I have never been much for sandwiches. I would rather sit down and eat chicken and noodles on mash potatoes, or fish and poi, or just plain barbeque ribs; however, a German salami and longhorn cheese on fresh bread is pretty darn good! A good sandwich is what I have to share with you; no, not the kind of sandwich that you eat, sorry. You see sandwiched between the deaths of Moses’ siblings is our story. Our story marks the end of a long journey. Finally, the Israelites are about to enter into the Promise Land.
Bellyaching; well, in a way I can not blame him for doing what he did. If anyone had a good excuse it was Moses. He was 120 years old; weary from the bellyachers, and grieving the death of his sister. Moses and the Israelites had been wandering the desert for 40 years. He had seen all the original men and women that left Egypt with him some 600,000 plus die in the wilderness because they refused to trust God (Numbers 14:3). Now these children were as tiresome as their parents, constantly bellyaching. Numbers 20 begins with the death of Moses and Aaron’s sister Miriam. One might think the people would have been merciful and compassionate towards the brothers in the death of their sister; however, not the case. Therefore, I really can not blame Moses for doing what he did; however, when God tells us to do something and we disobediently go our own way and when our sin finds us out then no excuse is acceptable!
Numbers 20:1-13 (NLT)
“In the first month of the year,* the whole community of Israel arrived in the wilderness of Zin and camped at Kadesh. While they were there, Miriam died and was buried.
2 There was no water for the people to drink at that place, so they rebelled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The people blamed Moses and said, “If only we had died in the LORD’s presence with our brothers! 4 Why have you brought the congregation of the LORD’s people into this wilderness to die, along with all our livestock? 5 Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us here to this terrible place? This land has no grain, no figs, no grapes, no pomegranates, and no water to drink!”
6 Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle,* where they fell face down on the ground. Then the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to them, 7 and the LORD said to Moses, 8 “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.”
9 So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the LORD. 10 Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill.
12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” 13 This place was known as the waters of Meribah (which means “arguing”) because there the people of Israel argued with the LORD, and there he demonstrated his holiness among them.”
Here we go again bellyaching! In Hawaii many locals speak “pidgin” which would sound something like, “Wat get no water?” When Moses heard this it was the last straw, he is now utterly fed up and can handle no more. He gives in to his anger when he should not have. He does the right thing at first by getting away from everybody. He and his brother Aaron go to God in prayer away from everyone else (Numbers 20:6). I think what we have here is something bigger than a display of anger and disobedience on the part of Moses. God had chosen Moses to lead the people and to whom much has been granted much is expected in return. I think Moses thought he was standing strong when he let down his guard (1 Corinthians 10:12). Moses’ visibility meant responsibility. And as followers of Christ we have the responsibility to have a certain visibility in the world we live in (Habakkuk 2:14). Brothers and sisters with the help of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us live lives of substance and quality.
RESPECT GOD’S HOLINESS BY OBEYING HIM
Have you ever had a mountain top experience with God? Could it have been at a special church service? Or was it standing over the Grand Canon? For some it may have been at the birth of a child or the death of a loved one. After your mountain top experience did you find yourself back at the bottom of the mountain looking up at it again? Moses had been such a great leader but at the end of his life he lost his patience and gave in to anger and disobedience. This might not seem like a very big deal to us. I mean Moses had struck the rock before with his staff (Exodus 17:6) when they had first set out from Egypt; however, now forty years later it was different. Instead of striking the rock God had specifically told him to speak to it.
Honestly, I do not fully understand Numbers 20:12. How was this action a lack of trust on Moses' part? What did God mean when he said Moses did not honor him? If we are going to understand what happened here and for that matter understanding God's nature we must be willing to let go of our own presuppositions and try to see as God sees. For example when someone is raped we might see it as a violation against the individual; however, God may see it as a violation against the very image of himself! It would serve us well to recognize that God's ways are not always our ways; nor, are his thoughts the same as ours (Romans 11:33, 34). We will live lives of substance and quality by giving heed to the following.
3 THINGS MENTIONED IN HEBREWS 3:12-19
•lookout for one another
•exhort one another
•hold firm unto the end (Hebrews 3:14)
if you have not submitted your life to Christ― today is the―day!
In the Scriptures God has been described as a Rock and Jesus is the Rock of our salvation (1 Corinthians 10:4). When Moses first struck the rock he did it only once and the living water came pouring out for the two million people and their livestock. There is a relationship to Jesus in this. He had been struck once and will not be struck again. His death on the cross served a purpose for our sin once and for all (Hebrews 10:12). He does not have to die again! His death on the cross made atonement once and for all for our sins. There is no longer any need for sacrifice (Romans 5:18). Through Jesus we have now been made right in God’s sight (2 Corinthians 5:21). Could God’s omniscience that is having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight have been the reason why God had told Moses to speak to the rock? God’s Name will be honored in all the earth. God’s Name will be magnified in all the earth with or without Moses and for that matter with or without us. God is glorious, honorable, and holy!
Habakkuk 2:14 (NLT)
14 For as the waters fill the sea,
the earth will be filled with an awareness
of the glory of the LORD.
I still want to talk about Moses disobedience and how it relates to where we go when we die.
Let’s pray. Father, we ask for your mercy. Fill us with your Spirit and help us obey you in everything. In Jesus Name. Amen.
What Moses had done displeased the Lord and no excuse could be made to rectify (make right) the situation. Moses had dishonored the Lord and would be held accountable. Moses’ punishment was that he would not be allowed to enter the Promise Land. Extreme yes; especially, considering everything Moses has gone through. Putting up with the bellyaching, “Wat get no water?” He and all the Israelites had been wandering in the wilderness with seemingly no purpose for nearly forty years. Yes, after all he had been through his punishment is extreme; however, through it all including not being able to enter the Promise Land Moses’ trust in the One True God is stronger than ever!
OUR CALL TO ACTION
What about you? Like Moses when you do everything in your power to do what is right but then mess up, what will you do? Where do you turn (Hebrews 3:14)? When you are up against a mighty mountain, a valley dark and deep then where do you turn? How can you be certain that God and his Word will faithfully see you through? In the past before the time of Christ, God’s Spirit dwelt with his people but today God’s Spirit dwells inside his people. By God’s Holy Spirit living inside you and me we are able to live lives of substance and quality. For when we have lived this way we can be certain that when we are away from our bodies we will be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-10). Are you with me? Where are we going to go when we die?
Think of your own personal illness or through the illness of a family member. Some of us suffer more so than others this side of heaven while others may go through life relatively easy that is without much heartache. The few that had to go through extreme pain will one day soon be relieved of it. For those that have life easy be warned because there are many who are going to suffer on the other side of heaven (Matthew 7:14). Strangely some do not seem to care. I guess it makes sense if I do not fear God then why would I fear Hell. I am thankful that in the end Moses won, he finished the race! Oh, it was not as he had hoped but looking back at it from the other side of heaven I am sure he is thankful to be where he is today (Hebrews 11:39, 40).
What about you? Where are you going when you die? Are you living in the moment, gratifying yourself at the cost of his holy Name? As demonstrated in the life of Moses no excuse is good enough to save you from Hell. Moses wanted more than anything to enter that Promise Land but God said, “No.” Moses might have said, “but God? Come on give me a break? My sister just died, and these people have a constant bellyache. Yes, I got angry but all I did was strike the rock?” And God said, “No!” (Numbers 20:12).
Some of us will say, “God I have never murdered anyone, I have never committed adultery, I have never stolen anything, nor have I ever spoken falsely about someone else. I have always honored my father and mother and treated my neighbor fairly.”
God will say, “Yes but you did not do what I told you.
Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Brothers and sisters may we do nothing that would dishonor the Name of Jesus Christ; therefore, causing God to take his Holy Spirit from us (Psalm 51:11)!
Come Lord Jesus Come! (Revelation 22:20).