As the minivan I was riding in stopped at a red light, I noticed a teenager twirling a sign. He was one of those persons paid by a business to hold up a sign advertising their products along busy roads. But no matter how hard I tried to read the large letters on the board I could not. He was so busy spinning it behind his back and over his head that it was impossible to read the message.
Numbers 20:10-12—Moses and Aaron summoned the assembly in front of the rock, and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels! Must we bring water out of this rock for you?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff, so that a great amount of water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust Me to show My holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land I have given them.”
The Israelites were sick of wandering through the desert. They had lost trust in their God who miraculously rescued them from Egypt. They were thirsty and wanted water. So they quarreled with Moses and Aaron and accused them of failing them by bringing them to that barren place. Moses was also sick. He was sick of leading people who constantly complained. He was worn out by their incessant grumbling to the point that he completely lost his temper with them. I suspect he was also mad at God.
Yahweh asked Moses to take his staff and speak to what must have been a prominent rock in the presence of the people (vs. 8). Instead he banged his stick twice and railed at his countrymen. He ruined the sign the Lord meant to be seen of His power and authority. Water does not come out of rocks by verbal commands—unless the Lord is at work.
When God asks us to do something we must obey His instruction! He says to hold and manage our sign so others will read it. We don’t believe the message will make a difference because every driver seems oblivious or ignores us. We twirl our board to get their attention. We get tired of a boring task. We perform so that people will see us and notice our talents, our position, our authority. By disobeying the Lord’s instruction, we not only fail to convey His message, we invite His punishment for our lack of trust and respect.
How badly Moses regretted his hotheaded words and actions. He lost the privilege of leading his people into the Promised Land. Who but God knows what blessings we miss because we twirl our signs and the message was lost.
It is clear that to obey God requires the exercise of personal discipline.—Margaret Thatcher inThe Freedom of Obedience
©2012 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)