Moses Struck the Rock

Text: Numbers 20:7-12

As usual, the people were complaining about the conditions in the wilderness. God provided for them, as He had before (Exodus 17:1-6). It is important to note that the instructions to Moses were different – strike the rock (Exodus 17:6); speak to the rock (Numbers 20:8). Moses sinned in this instance. His mistake provides some important lessons for us.

What We Do When We Sin

  • We violate the Lord’s instruction – lawlessness (1 John 3:4); even if it is not explicitly forbidden (Hebrews 7:12-14); God’s instructions are understandable (Ephesians 3:4) and doable (1 John 5:3)
  • We demonstrate unbelief – even one who normally has strong convictions can doubt or demonstrate unbelief (cf. Matthew 14:28-31); obedience is a sign of faith (James 2:17-18), disobedience is a sign of unbelief
  • We fail to honor God – we must give the Lord the honor & respect that His title demands (Luke 6:46); if we sin willfully, we trample under foot the Son of God (Hebrews 10:26-29)
  • We jeopardize our salvation – the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23); even one with a history of faithfulness can be lost because of sin (1 Corinthians 9:27; Ezekiel 18:24)

No Excuse for SinMoses could have argued that his sin was justifiable or tolerable, just as people do today. Let’s notice some possible excuses Moses could have made:

  • He was acting out of frustration – he was certainly in a frustrating situation, but sin can always be overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  • He could have been confused about the law – earlier he was told to strike the rock (Exodus 17:6), here he was to speak to it; God’s word is understandable (Ephesians 3:4); only confusing to those who are not diligent and careful to obey it (Titus 2:14; 3:8)
  • “The ends justify the means” – even though Moses disobeyed God, the people still received water, isn’t this all that matters? No! Follow the pattern (2 Timothy 1:13), do what is authorized (Colossians 3:17), respect God’s silence (Hebrews 7:14)
  • He was not as bad as the others – salvation is not based upon us being “better” than others, or else the Pharisees would be saved (Matthew 5:20); our standard is not man, but God and Christ (Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15-16)
  • It was just one sin – even if we are just guilty of one sin, we are still guilty of sin (James 2:10); Simon committed one sin before finding himself in gall of bitterness & bondage of iniquity (Acts 8:18-23); we are to be dead to sin (Romans 6:11)

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