Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lenten series #7: Moses part 2

and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, "Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?" Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them." (Numbers 20:10-12 NASB)

To refresh your memory about the events in this passage, Moses and the children of Israel were at Meribah for the second time, and they were once again complaining about the lack of water. Previously, God had told Moses to take the rod, strike the rock, and he had done just that. Water had poured forth. This time, God told Moses that he and Aaron were to assemble the people, and he was to speak to the rock. Water would come forth. Moses was obviously frustrated with the people and their incessant complaining. Surprisingly, the most humble man on earth had a prideful moment. Instead of speaking to the rock, he spoke to the people. He took partial credit for providing the water. (Shall WE bring forth water...). After those two blunders, he still did not speak to the rock. He hit the rock, not once but twice. After decades of faithful service, he made a series of horrid blunders in the space of just a few minutes. He didn't believe God and he didn't obey God, and to make matters worse, his disobedience was done in the full view of the entire nation of Israel. 

God couldn't overlook it, but He waited until He had Moses and Aaron alone to give them their consequences. They would not be leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Here's the hardest part. Aaron died before long, and Moses still had to lead and deal with the children of Israel, but he no longer had the help of his brother. He was responsible for them to the borders of the Promised Land. All the way, Moses continued to meet with God face to face, he continued to obey, and he continued to lead. There is no indication that he spent time being angry, pouting, or rebelling further. He did not grumble or complain. He accepted the decision of God and got back on the path of obedience. 

I've had my share of faith blunders, and you probably have, too. When those are public blunders that result in significant consequence from God, the "natural" response is to be angry, defensive, and even to take a step back from service. It is much harder (and rare) to accept consequences with grace, learn from our mistakes, and continue serving God without a moment's hesitation. 

Perhaps we could learn from Moses. When he experienced discipline for his mistake, he accepted it with grace and kept right on serving. He didn't lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Instead, he entered his own Promised Land in Heaven where his new home was waiting just for him. How about that? Only a loving Father would discipline His children by giving them something better than they would have had! 

What is your response to discipline? What changes are needed?