This week, we continue our journey through the book of Numbers, but on a slight scenic detour.
Pastor Miles has showed us that the book of Numbers is a book of numbering, or census, where the Jews actually counted their population.
The fourth book of the Bible is also the book of wandering, as the Jews wandered for 40 years in the desert before coming to the Promised Land (actually 38 and a half years in this book, the remaining year and a half is retold in Deuteronomy).
This book is also the book of complaining.
The Jews complained, it seemed, the entire time they were on this journey (thus, only 2 people of the original 2 million were allowed to enter the Promised Land). Moses complained to God about these people that constantly complained even after seeing the miracles of God. Even God himself complained about the complainers and Moses had to ask God not to destroy the Jews.
But there was one instant where Moses complained and acted in a manner so that God punished him by not allowing this leader to enter the Promised Land. Moses' disobedience teaches us that this road trip is not a personal journey for recognition, satisfaction, or fulfillment; it is about the authority and holiness of God.
In Numbers 20:2-5, we again find the Jews complaining to Moses that there was no water for them to drink and that they were going to die. Moses and Aaron went to the tabernacle and "fell on their faces" when the Lord told them what to do:
Take your rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock. Numbers 20:8
In verses 10 and 11, Moses hits the rock after yelling at the congregation, not following God's instructions resulting in Moses not being allowed to enter the holy land that God prepared for his people.
The reason this sermon is called Mis-Moses is because of the three things Moses did to 'Mis' God' in this bit of scripture.
First, Moses misrepresented God's heart. The rod that Moses carried around represented the power and authority of God. Moses was instructed to speak to the rock and it will produce water. However, Moses struck the rock twice with the rod misrepresenting the Lord as an angry God.
Second, Moses misunderstood his relationship with God. In verse 10, Moses said to the people " Must we bring water for you out of this rock?" The key word being we, as Moses takes credit for something that God can do perfectly well without his help.
The final thing that Moses did was misuse God's authority. The rod of God was misrepresented and the words of God were misunderstood and the entire experience results in God's power being misused. This display didn't show the Jews what God needed to teach his people, as God intended. God wants to express his heart to us and free us from our own bondage.
On this road trip, he is trying to teach us how to do that. So when God speaks to us, we not only need to listen, but we need to obey and do exactly what he instructs us to do... so that we can enjoy the wonderful gifts he has prepared for us.