Numbers 20:12 “Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.””
Numbers 20:12 provides us with a chilling reminder of the holy requirements of Christian leadership. Moses & Aaron were not given the privilege to lead Israel into the promised land. Reason: they did not reverend God before the people.
The people were unreasonable. They acted faithlessly in spite of all the miracles they had witnessed. They were angry. They were obviously provoking an angry response from their leader. Hence, Moses held an “angry” posture, striking the rock instead of speaking to it as God instructed. And God was not pleased with such behaviour in His presence.
I am reminded that as leaders attempting to do good & having good intentions for God’s church, we have to let God act and not demonstrate our unhappiness by our behaviour or response. We need to be reverend before God & demonstrate Godly fear always. This is regardless of how difficult the people we are trying to lead may be. No excuses. If we conduct ourselves wrongly in this aspect, we are wrong. There can be no excuses as we read of Moses’ account of this matter in Deut 3:26 ““But the LORD was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the LORD said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter.”
Let us prayerfully seek the help of the Holy Spirit & not give way to the devil when we serve God.
“And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: “If only we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!”Numbers 20:3 NKJV
This had happened before. The Israelites murmured about a lack of water, having no meat to eat, that their conditions in Egypt were better, etc. God had judged them and also demonstrated to them that He was able to provide much more than they can imagine. Yet, they murmured again.
The conditions that they experienced were probably worst than what we can imagine. Yet, the bible did not regard this appropriate for complaint. Perhaps the reason was because they ought to have raised it respectfully in prayer. Interestingly, that was exactly what Moses did when he heard the complaints of the Israelites. And God responded immediately to his prayer.
This is a reminder to us that God is omniscient. He knows our needs even before we raise it to Him. If we murmur instead of pray when we encounter our needs, we are in effect denying His omniscience. Hence, we sin when we murmur. Let us remember that God is sovereign and knows our every need. He delights in us approaching Him like little children, expressing our needs and trusting that He will provide. He is our Heavenly Father, ruler of the universe. Let us turn to Him for all our needs.
“Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again.”Num 11:25 NKJV
The situation? Israel was murmuring. Moses was perplexed about what he should do. He brought it to the LORD because he could not bear it himself. God assured him that He would give enlightenment to 70 more men so that they can help bear his burden. They will have eyes to see the correct perspective of the situation.
Job 32:8 “..there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding”. So true. We don’t win arguments by reason. Because the faculties of the opposition may not understand our reasons, unless the Spirit of God opens their eyes. 2 Cor 10:4 “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds”.
The next time you find yourself engaged in an argument, restrain yourself. Withdraw yourself from any unhelpful exchange of words. Escape to a closet and engage in prayer. Let the Spirit of God influence and convict people instead.
“Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.”Num 11:1 NKJV
God knows what He is providing for us and why it is best for us. When we complain against Him, we are in effect saying that God is not doing us good. It is a rebellion against His sovereignty; it is an expression of disrespect.
It is obvious that not all providences will be a delight to our flesh. The Israelites encountered hardship when they started their journey. Let us not belittle this. The conditions of their journey may not be what we can imagine using our modern day minds.
The lesson here is that when we encounter “frowning” providences, we are meant to turn our eyes to God – to look to Him and commune with Him to understand His purpose in designing these things which disturb our peace. It is through these wrestling in prayer that we draw near to Him. It is through these that we may learn to find our source of delight and hope in Him and not in the temporal satisfactions that our heart desire. Then we can say like the Apostle Paul “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:” - Phil 4:11 NKJV.
Are you murmuring against any providences today? May God help us see His merciful hand in all things that He brings to pass. Let us find our source of comfort in His sovereign hand who “..works all things for the good of His people”.