And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
This story in Numbers 20:1-12, although very strange is very instructive.
It is certain that God was greatly offended, and justly, for He is never angry without cause. Though Moses and Aaron were His faithful servants who had obtained mercy, to be His favourites, and such as He had highly honoured, yet for something they thought, or said, or did, upon this occasion, He put them under the disgrace and mortification of dying, as other unbelieving Israelites did, short of Canaan. And no doubt the crime deserved the punishment.
Their fault was complicated:
First, They did not punctually observe their orders, but in some things varied from their commission.
God bade them speak to the rock, and they spoke to the people, and smote the rock, which at this time they were not ordered to do, but they thought speaking would not do. When, in distrust of the power of the word, we have recourse to the secular power in matters of pure conscience, we do, as Moses here, smite the rock to which we should only speak.
Secondly, They assumed too much of the glory of this work of wonder to themselves:
Must we fetch water? as if it were done by some power or worthiness of theirs. Therefore it is charged upon them (Numbers 20:12) that they did not sanctify God, they did not give Him that glory of this miracle which was due unto His name.
Thirdly, Unbelief was the great transgression (Numbers 20:12). It is called rebelling against God’s commandment, Numbers 27:14.
The command was to bring water out of the rock, but they rebelled against this command, by distrusting it, and doubting whether it would take effect or not. They speak doubtfully: Must we fetch water?
Perhaps, they rather questioned it, though God had promised it, because the glory of the Lord did not appear before them upon this rock, as it had done upon the rock in Rephidim, Exodus 17:6.
They would not take God’s word without a sign.
Their unbelief means they doubted whether now at last, when the forty years had expired, they should enter Canaan, and whether they must not for the murmurings of the people be condemned to another period of toil, because a new rock was now opened for their supply, which they took for an indication of their longer stay. And, if so, justly were they kept out of Canaan themselves, while the people entered at the time appointed.
Fourthly, They said and did all in heat and passion. This is the account given of the sin (Psalms 106:33):
They provoked his spirit, so that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips. It was in his passion that he called them rebels. It is true they were so, God had called them so and Moses afterwards, in the way of a just reproof (Deuteronomy 9:24), calls them so without offence but now it came from a provoked spirit, and was spoken unadvisedly: it was too much like Raca, and you fool.
His smiting the rock twice (it should seem, not waiting at all for the eruption of the water upon the first stroke) shows that he was in a heat.
The same thing said and done with meekness may be justifiable but when said and done in anger may be highly culpable see James 1:20.
Fifthly, That which aggravated all the rest, and made it the more provoking, was that it was public, before the eyes of the children of Israel, to whom they should have been examples of faith, and hope, and meekness.
We find Moses guilty of sinful distrust, Numbers 11:22-23. That was private between God and him, and therefore was only checked. But his was public. It dishonoured God before Israel, as if he grudged them His favours, and discouraged the people’s hope in God, and therefore this was severely punished, and the more because of the dignity and eminency of those that offended.
From the above explanation, we may learn:
1. That the best of men have their failings, even in those graces that they are most eminent for. The man Moses was very meek, and yet here he sinned in passion. Wherefore, let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
2. That God judges not as man judges.
We might think that there was not much amiss in what Moses said and did, yet God saw cause to animadvert severely upon it. He knows the frame of men’s spirits, what temper they are of, and what temper they are in upon particular occasions, and from what thoughts and intents words and actions do proceed and we are sure that therefore His judgment is according to truth, when it agrees not with ours.
3. That God not only takes notice of, and is displeased with, the sins of His people, but that the nearer anyone is to Him, the more offensive are his sins, Amos 3:2.
It should seem, the Psalmist refers to this sin of Moses and Aaron (Psalms 99:8): Thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance on their inventions.
As many are spared in this life and punished in the other, so many are punished in this life and saved in the other.
4. That, when our heart is hot within us, we are concerned to take heed that we offend not with our tongue.
5. It is an evidence of the sincerity of Moses, and his impartiality in writing, that he himself left this upon record concerning himself, and drew not a veil over his own infirmity, by which it appeared that in what he wrote, as well as what he did, he sought God’s glory more than his own.
Moses and Aaron did not sanctify God as they ought in the eyes of Israel (Numbers 20:12), but God was sanctified in them for He will not be a loser in His honour by any man. If He be not glorified by us, He will be glorified upon us.
Brethren, let us be careful of anger that may lead us to irrational behavior, consequent upon which we might incur the wrath of God.
My prayer is that the blood of Jesus will wash away every judgement of God that is hanging upon our heads as a result of our anger in Jesus name.
Good morning and have a wonderful day in Jesus name.
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Father! In The Mighty Name Of Jesus Christ Your Son! We Cover Your Son Pastor E A Adeboye With The Precious Blood Of Jesus! He Shall Finish Strong, To Your Glory Through Christ Jesus Our Lord And Saviour! Amen!
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