Posted by: Brad Beaman | February 23, 2010

When You Really Blow it Numbers 20:1-13

Have you ever really blown it? Maybe there was a time when you slammed your fist down on the table? Suddenly you realize this is not how I wanted things to go. Maybe you did something far worse. You realize that nothing is going to be the same from this time onward. This must have been the way that  Moses felt when he disobeyed God and out of frustration hit the rock with his staff. 

Sometimes we “get away with it” when we blow it. It took a long time to recover, but Moses had many more fruitful years ahead of him after he killed the Egyptian. There was no punishment for breaking the tablets of Ten Commandments into small pieces. But this time he is striking a rock with his staff when he should have spoken to the rock. That was a deal breaker. He would not be leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land. I don’t think we could imagine the devastation that was to Moses.

How did he respond? What should we do if we blow it big time? What if we have a deal breaker mistake like Moses made? Let’s look at Moses and see how he responded. What ended up happening?  

Moses mistake,

Water from the Rock Numbers 20:1-13

1 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! 4 Why did you bring the LORD’s community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? 5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” 6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. 7 The LORD said to Moses, 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” 9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. 12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “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.” 13 These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the LORD and where he showed himself holy among them.

It was almost the end of a generation. There were just a few old generation people left alive who crossed the Red Sea. Now Miriam the sister of Moses died too and she was buried there in the wilderness.

It was the time of the new generation Israelites that were now poised to cross into the Promise Land. There was something very clear about this new generation. They grumbled against Moses just as much as their parents did. There was no water. They were thirsty. Now instead of trusting God they quarreled with Moses.  

Moses and Aaron did the right thing. It was the same thing they did when the parents of these youngsters quarreled with them. They went to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown to seek God. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them. God gave Moses a word of assurance that water would come from the rock. God gave Moses instructions on how this would happen.

Vs 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

Just to summarize there was no water to drink, the people quarreled with Moses, he went to the Tent of meeting fell face down, and glory of the Lord appeared to him. Moses received a word of from the Lord, so far, so good.

After meeting God and getting instructions from God Moses took the staff as commanded gathered the people in front of the rock. The problem is that Moses did not speak to the rock as God commanded. Maybe he did speak and nothing happened and his reaction was to get angry and disobey and hit the rock twice out of frustration. However it happened Moses hit the rock twice with his staff. Not good!

The water did come from the rock. It was miraculous and even gushed out of the rock. But God told Moses to speak to the rock, but instead Moses hit the rock twice. Moses was not trusting God. Instead of trusting God Moses added his human effort by striking the rock.

12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “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.”

 The actions of Moses brought serious consequences that must have weighed heavy on Moses.

12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “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.”

Moses led the people of Israel for almost forty years and now that it was time to cross into the promise land. He was not going to be the one to lead them in. He would not even be able to enter. Moses really blew it.

Previous water from rock episode (Exodus 17:1-7)

There were two “water from the rock” events that sort of serve as bookends for the forty years of wandering in the Wilderness. The first time is very soon after crossing the Red Sea. That time Moses was instructed “Take in your hand the staff, strike the rock, so Moses did this.”

He did what he was told to do and water gushed from the rock. Strike the rock and water will come out. The staff of Moses was a symbol of God’s power and anointing. It was used on many occasions when Moses demonstrated the miraculous power of God.

Glimpse of the Promise Land

(Numbers 27:12-23, Deuteronomy 32:48-52, Deuteronomy 34;1-4)

Moses climbed up Mt Nebo and God showed him the Promised Land from the mountain. God told him he would not see the land because of his breaking faith with God at the waters of Meribah. (Deuteronomy 32:51) After that Moses died there on the Mt Nebo. He never came down from Mt Nebo. He is never again on earth until more than a thousand years later with Jesus on Mt Tabor at the transfiguration. That is in the Promised Land!

Moses is there with Jesus who is the Living Water. Jesus was there figuratively in the desert as the rock which Moses struck with the staff.  (1 Corinthians 10:4) The gushing water is a symbol of Christ the Living Water.

It is not over until the fat lady sings. With God it is not over even if the fat lady has sung! Moses was not able to lead his people into the Promised Land. But he was at the transfiguration. (Luke 9:28-36, Mark 9:2-13, Matt 17:1-8) Have you done something like Moses when he hit the rock with his staff? Have you blown it? God’s grace is there for you.

After Moses blew it he did not throw in the towel. He stayed faithful and made the most of the short time he had left. He fought battles. He Transferred the priesthood from his brother to his nephew Eleazar when Aaron died. He met with God. He led the Israelites in battle. He took a census with the new Priest Eleazar. He appealed to God for a new leader for Israel and he anointed Joshua his successor. After he blew it he wrote the song of Moses Deuteronomy 32 which is quoted in a song of the heavenly angelic choir in Revelation 15:3-4.  

You need to remember God’s grace and God’s mercy. Redemption and is not based on the law, it is the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for you when you did not deserve it. Jesus died the just for the unjust to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18)  

At the transfiguration we read about the glory of Jesus. His face shone like the sun, just then there appeared Moses. Moses did not enter the Promised Land because of human effort or persevering for forty years. He entered because of God’s grace. He entered the Promised Land because he came there with Jesus.

Have you blown it? You need to see God’s hand in every situation of your lives.  Keep faithful and trust in the grace of God.

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Responses

  1. I’ve certainly blown it. Every day I’ve blown it. Every hour. Some hidden lust. Mostly, my sins are much larger. I’m not an effective concealer. What’s in my heart will out. And that why “I need Him Every Hour.”

  2. Could you explain from the part of the text below that I copied from “if you really blow it” above, what is the tranfiguration? and how did Moses come back after he died on Mt. Nebo?????

    “After that Moses died there on the Mt Nebo. He never came down from Mt Nebo. He is never again on earth until more than a thousand years later with Jesus on Mt Tabor at the transfiguration. That is in the Promised Land!”

    Thank you very much, Karen – am seeking true faith and trust and an end to my anger, resentment and lack of understanding. Something is holding me back from complete and utter faith in God and his Son, can’t seem to get beyond it.

    • Hi Karen,
      The Transfiguration is the story of Jesus glorification on the mountain. It is found in the Bible in the following three places; Luke 9:28-36, Mark 9:2-13, Matt 17:1-8
      Moses and Elijah appeared on the mountain with Jesus.

  3. Thanks for this, Brad. I had never realized the transfiguration occurred in the Promised Land. What great hope and joy that brought my heart to see how God extended grace to Moses even beyond the grave!

  4. Thanks so much. I’m teaching on this chapter in sunday school this week and this really gives a good perspective to a pretty sad chapter.

  5. This sermon is nice and clear to understand God’s work.thank you servant of God.


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