Three times in the past the Lord had instructed Moses to strike something with the rod of God…the Nile River that turned into blood, the dust that turned into gnats, and the Rock at Horeb that sent forth water. But this time in the Desert of Zin as the people were again grumbling for lack of water, God told Moses to speak to the rock in the presence of the people. But instead of obeying, Moses allowed his anger and frustration of the crowd to get the best of him, and he struck the rock…not once, but twice. God kept His promise and water flowed out from the rock, but He said to Moses, “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 20:12) Moses had broken faith, allowing his emotions to rule over God’s Word…all with unfortunate results.
The reference to this is in Exodus 2:3, “…she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.” When the mother of Moses could no longer hide him from the Egyptians…she was forced to put the basket in the water and release the baby to God. Letting go of our children is difficult. Whether it’s their first day of school or just starting college, I believe Moms have a harder time of relinquishing their control. But just as the mother Moses had to trust God with her baby, we need to also. For if you think about it…God can love and care for our kids much better, for He’s always with them.
God had gotten Moses’s attention with a burning bush. But when God spoke to him out of it…Moses still wouldn’t believe Him. In their short conversation, Moses objected five times, giving excuse after excuse of why he wasn’t the person to deliver the Hebrew children out of Egypt. Here in verse 13, we find Moses still hesitating…asking God, “Isn’t there somebody else you can send?” When we have no self-confidence, self-esteem, or self-worth it’s difficult, if not almost impossible, to see in ourselves what God sees in us. For God sees our potential and we need to be brave enough to trust Him.
What does it take for the Lord to get your attention? Will the still small voice of the Holy Spirit be enough…or do you need something more dramatic and sensational (like a burning bush) for you to even take notice? Awareness of the Lord takes discipline…to be able to quicken our ears to His voice. But also know when the Lord calls, He’s very specific…He will call you by name, not by random.
Moses was speaking to a defiant and rebellious Israel in the desert wilderness after they had returned from a disastrous battle with the Amorites. The enemy had chased the Jewish army down the hillside like a swarm of bees…beating them back…resulting in heavy casualties. The old saying, “I’d rather ask for forgiveness than ask permission,” just doesn’t work with God! Anytime we think we know more than God, we’re treading on thin ice…and anytime we act on it, we too will be marching out minus God’s blessing.
Time was short for the elderly Joshua when he warned the Jewish leaders about being enticed by foreign gods. He wanted them to be fully aware of what the allure and deception of foreign gods could do to the Jewish people. He urged them to remain faithful to the Word of God…persevering with self-discipline in their walk…guarding their hearts and minds from deceit…veering neither to the right nor to the left but always keeping on the straight and narrow. Joshua’s words ring true for God’s people today…Be courageous, keep guard, remain faithful.
The Lord had instructed Moses to send 12 spies into Canaan, but it was only Caleb and Joshua who urged the people to go in and conquer the Promised Land. Which is very odd if you look at the other 10 men’s names and their meanings…remembering all these young men had been born as God directed the Jews in the wilderness for 40 years. Their names included – God hears, God endows, God redeems, God saves, God is my deliverance, God is my kinsman. For in the end, all their strong, valiant names couldn’t help them overcome fear. And despite hearing about God’s covenant with Israel all their life, they only saw adversity.