Water from a Rock
Do we really need to help God make a miracle? Of course not. Yet, we try. Even Moses did.
When the people of God wandered in the Desert of Zin (near Kadesh), they became thirsty with no source of water. Men, women and children began to complain. In fact, the entire community held a regular “whine and geez” party.
Moses Strikes the Rock
From The Coloured Picture Bible for Children
1900 – Society for Promoting Christianity
Speaking, Not Striking
To demonstrate His power (again) and to meet the people’s human need, the Lord clearly instructed Moses to speak to a rock, commanding it to spring forth with fresh water.
But Moses becomes a bit overzealous. Perhaps Moses is angry with the people. Maybe pride takes hold of the patriarch for an instant, despite his remarkable humility (see Numbers 12:3). The water gushes from the granite, and the people are satisfied.
But the Lord is dissatisfied with Moses and Aaron and vows that the two leaders will never enter the Promised Land personally.
Ever faithful, God guides His people through a conflict of passage at Edom. (The Edomites descended from Esau, even as the Israelites came from the line of Jacob. The prophetic conflict persisted.)
A Final Reunion
Numbers 20 contains a wonderful promise of eternity, tactfully tucked into the nutshell narrative of the Israelites’ wilderness wanderings. The Lord repeats it twice, probably so we cannot miss it:
"[The Lord said,] ‘Aaron will be gathered to his people.
He will not enter the land I give the Israelites,
because both of you rebelled against My command
at the waters of Meribah.
Get Aaron and his son Eleazar
and take them up Mount Hor.
Remove Aaron's garments and put them on his son Eleazar,
for Aaron will be gathered to his people;
he will die there.’"
(Numbers 20:24-26, NIV, emphasis added)
Moses’ and Aaron’s sister Miriam had already died (see Numbers 20:1). Can you just imagine the happy reunion of Miriam and Aaron, once Aaron was “gathered to his people”?
What a happy and hopeful statement for those who mourn. When those who love the Lord leave this life to enter eternity with Him, we will also be gathered to our people. Those who have left a legacy of faith for us to follow will be waiting to greet us at Heaven’s gates.
A dear friend and prayer partner of mine passed into eternity about a week ago. She now rejoices in the presence of the Lord and all dearly departed disciples. Although I miss my sister in Christ, I am encouraged to know that we will be rejoined one day.
Plague of Fiery Serpents
From Treasures of the Bible
By Henry Davinport Northrop
1894 – International Publishing Company
Sniping and Snake Bites
Even after the Lord provided potable water, navigational know-how and divine protection for His people, they began murmuring once more. Passing around the land of Edom, the people found a new shortage of food and water. They questioned Jehovah Jireh’s ability and willingness to provide for their daily needs (see Numbers 21:4-6).
As judgment, the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people. Many died from lethal bites.
Again, the people repented and begged Moses to pray for them, and he did (see Numbers 21:7-9). At God’s instruction, Moses crafted a bronze snake and placed it atop a pole. Anyone who was bitten by a snake and looked up at the bronze snake was saved.
Although Moses and the ancient Israelites may not have understood the full meaning of this event, we can certainly now see a striking spiritual significance. Our gracious God points out how we may all be bitten by the serpent’s poison of sin. But we are invited to look to the cross, where the Son of God was lifted up to suffer and save all who will receive Him.
The Lord brings healing and deliverance. May His Name be praised.
Will you pray with me?
Teach us to trust You.
You are loving and able.
Guide our steps,
Even as You meet our every need.
Remind us that all power is Yours.
We need only trust You
To bring water from a rock and
Deliverance from evil
Until the day You draw us
To Your eternal reunion.