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|Read the Bible--Got Terrified
|Thursday, September 23, 2021|
Have you ever been terrified while reading Scripture? Numbers chapter 20 gave me quite a zap. In the middle of the desert, the Israelites were without water—or faith. Their grumbling against Moses quickly morphs into the ridiculous: “Why have you brought the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place?” (vv. 4,5).
God’s response to Moses: “Tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”
Instead, Moses first reams the people out, arrogantly challenging, "Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” (As if he and Aaron personally possessed the power to do so). Then, instead of speaking to the rock per God’s instructions, Moses struck the rock twice with his staff. Disobedience!
If it were me, I might have shut off the faucet of my generosity. Not God. Verse 11 says, “water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.” All was well, right?
Wrong. Ultimately, Moses’ anger and arrogance cost him more than he could have imagined. God said, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them” (Numbers 20:12).
Get that? After facing Pharaoh, announcing the plagues, exiting Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, receiving the Ten Commandments, surviving the wilderness, Moses would never place so much as a toe on the promised land. Two spine-chilling takeaways for you and me:
First, God might well appear to bless our ministry, despite our sin. Observe that the water gushed out! But success does not equal holiness. (Remind you of any recent leadership failures?)
Second, note that we can live lives of great faithfulness, doing great things for God over a great span, and yet sin in a way that results in great disappointment. Like Moses.
Are you terrified yet?
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