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 wilderness, 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 face down, 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 was proved holy among them. (Numbers 20:2-13)
Moses was angry. He was fed up. How many times had the Lord saved these people and served these people and shown these people His wonder? And now here they were whining and rebelling again! Enough already! And here the Lord was going to give them what they were bellying aching about. Again.
Yet, the Lord said just to speak … Seriously, God?
Moses wanted to spank. smack. spit. to spew. And he did. And I bet it felt good.
… And it cost him the promised land.
Okay, I have to admit. This one gets to me. How many times had the Lord wanted to unleash his anger, and one of his servants interceded, and calmed his wrath. Seriously. And now that tables are turned and Moses is feeling wrathful, and he gets dinged for his emotion and misses out on the promised land?! Excuse me, Father, but what’s up with that?
But here’s the deal. We don’t get to call the shots. Period. We can’t send out the lightning strike to teach the rapist his lesson. We can’t call down fire on the murderer who ravages an unsuspecting girl. We can’t see into the hearts of lives upended by trial and wallow in the anger of what we deem unfair.
We don’t have the perspective that sees how this whole human puzzle is being fit together perfectly at his command. We don’t have a plan that trumps God’s. We can only trust that He is Love, and He is Good. We need only to speak to the Rock.
Our job is to “trust in Him enough to honor him as holy.” … even in the stories, like these, of the unhappily ever afters.
Because, in the end, we don’t know nothin’. But when all is said and done, like Paul, we don’t NEED to know nothing – except Jesus and Him crucified. (…Speaking of which, God sent his only amazing boy to brutally suffer – physically and emotionally – at our hands, just for the sake of us quarrelers. Making a way so we need only to Speak To The Rock… So, yeah, we’ve got nothin’ on Him.)
… AAaannnd (in regards to Moses) turns out, if you look ahead in the book, he gets to do that shining-in-glory thing just to give Jesus a friendly boost of courage! So, yeah, don’t think The Big Guy was too worried about this one particular little ‘ouch’ in the bigger scheme of things, ya know?
Lord, life is filled with little ouches. And a whole heckuva lot I don’t ‘get’… Teach my heart to trust and honor you as holy. Always. Period.