It tells us that the face of Moses was so brilliant that the people couldn’t gaze intently at him…for after speaking to God, glory covered his face. (II Corinthians 3:7-13) This happened to Jesus also on the Mount of Transfiguration when His face shone like the sun. (Matthew 17:2) There’s something about being in the presence of God that changes us, for it says in Psalm 34:5, “Those who look to Him are radiant.” Isaiah also spoke of this when he wrote, “Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1) Spending time with God in His word will change your countenance from the inside out. Harsh rigid lines will soften, and smiles will replace scowls as God’s glory radiates from within.
These people were the same ones who had just witnessed Moses parting the Red Sea so they might escape Pharaoh’s army…but their attention span was short, and their loyalties to God fickle as the days wore on with no sight of Moses. So they rejected him as some fly-by-night wannabe and demanded that Aaron make them a replacement god. While still up on the mountain, Moses learned of this when God told him, “Go down from here at once, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have become corrupt. They have turned away quickly from what I commanded them and have made a cast idol for themselves.” (Deuteronomy 9:12) Fast forward to today, and nothing much has changed. We get bored easily, we like our information in sound-bites, and we want God to perform at the snap of our fingers…but He doesn’t work that way! Waiting on the Lord is a faith-building, trust-strengthening, hope-fulfilling endurance race that takes us from marginal Christianity to mighty warrior of God.
God allowed Moses to see the Promised Land, but forbid him from crossing over the Jordan River and claiming it. It stemmed from the incident where God had instructed Moses to speak to the rock for water to flow, but out of frustration and anger, Moses had struck the rock instead…allowing the people’s whining and complaining to get the better of him. (Numbers 20:1-13) Likewise, God gave David the vision of what the Temple should look like and charged him with procuring all the building supplies, but forbid him from actually starting it…for he was a man of war with blood on his hands. Instead, God gave the task to David’s son, Solomon. Both Moses and David could of become very offended with God’s decision not to let them finish the mission He had given each of them. And they could of become very insulted when God told them to encourage someone else who would complete it. But that’s when we have to step back and take a look at the BIG picture…that’s when we have to ask God for His perspective and His ultimate plan and purpose.
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.