“…and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, ‘Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?”’ Numbers 20:10
After the death of Miriam, the sons of Israel were in Kadesh and were without water. The Israelite community assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron to blame them for leading them to what they believed were their deaths. After Moses and Aaron left the complaining congregation, they fell on their faces in the doorway of the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord appeared.
The Lord instructed Moses to take his rod and he and Aaron were to assemble the congregation before the rock. Moses was to speak to the rock so that the rock would yield water and the congregation and their beasts could drink. Moses took the rod as the Lord commanded and gathered the assembly before the rock. However, instead of speaking to the rock, Moses addressed the Israelites as rebels and struck the rock twice so that water flowed from the rock. The Lord told Moses and Aaron that because of their actions towards Him, they would not enter into the land He had given.
When Moses disobeyed God by striking the rock twice instead of speaking to the rock, He called the Israelites rebels when in fact he also acted in rebellion against the Lord. He did not follow the Lord’s command and expressed the same rebellion that the Israelites had demonstrated countless times before. Moses had shown, in times past, his humility and eagerness to obey the Lord especially when the Israelites rebelled. In fact, just moments before, he and Aaron fell on their faces at the doorway of the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord appeared. Although Moses struck the rock, we do not read that Aaron attempted to stop him or immediately repent afterwards. God knew the hearts of both Moses and Aaron and He referred to the act of rebellion as unbelief and as not treating the Lord as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel. The Lord gave specific instructions for how the Israelites would receive water, but Moses, in anger, deliberately did otherwise.
Countless times Moses and Aaron had seen that rebellion caused the Lord grief and anger, as well as the punishment the Israelites received for rebellion against the Lord, yet they still rebelled. Did they believe that the Lord would not deal with their sin in the same manner? Did they believe that because the Israelites' behavior was contentious that their rebellion would be excusable or justified in the eyes of the Lord? Although the Lord gave clear direction in the midst of all of the commotion, were the harsh words and the uproar so great that Moses responded hastily? Moses’ actions showed us that sometimes it’s difficult to recognize that we are responding with the same type of attitude that we have been recipients of and have also spoken about others.
Each day we are faced with innumerable situations to rebel against the Lord. As you read in the passage, after Moses and Aaron fell on their faces, the Lord provided a way for His name to be revered as holy and so that Moses and Aaron would not rebel against Him as the Israelites did. Consider the times that you are tested and there is contention, uproar, harsh words, and defiant attitudes. The Lord has always and will always provide an answer to guide and instruct you so that you will respond in a manner that will treat Him as holy, not respond hastily, and not act in the same rebellion shown towards you.
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,