March 03, 2022
Have you ever responded to others out of anger? How did that go for you (and others)? “The anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God,” James said. And there’s no greater illustration of that than Moses’ encounter with God and his people in Numbers 20.
A DRY TANK
As Moses was leading the Hebrew nation out of Egypt to the Promised Land, they ran out of water. True to form, they immediately blamed their leaders, Moses and Aaron. These two, humble men of God went to God to ask Him what they should do and God was quick with a response.
“Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.” (Numbers 20:8)
AN UNRESOLVED ANGER
But when Moses went to do the Lord’s bidding, he was still angry in his soul at the people (wouldn’t you be?) This is evident by the way he responded to the people and, correspondingly, the way he treated God.
So, Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him; 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. (Numbers 20:9-11)
God told Moses to simply speak to the rock. But Moses spoke to the PEOPLE first, rebuking them; chiding them just as they had chided him and his brother. It was an emotional response to point out their sin. But then came the fatal mistake.
STRIKING THE ROCK
We know from other Scriptures that the Rock represented Christ Himself, the source of all our supply. Instead of simply speaking to the Rock, he struck it. And he struck it twice. In his anger with the people, he turned without thinking and struck at the Source of all life-giving water. This act dishonored God, treating Him lightly. Moses used God to make a point with those who had hurt him.
Unresolved anger makes us lose our minds. Our judgment is clouded and our emotions reign. In such a state, we can respond irrationally. All Moses was instructed to do was to speak to the Rock. This step of simple faith would have shown the people that God was their supply. All the focus would have been on God and His goodness. It would have been a moment that honored God and humbled the people. But Moses took the opportunity to strike a blow at the people and, sadly, at God Himself.
ANGER ALWAYS HAS A PRICE
Unfortunately, this rash response cost Moses and his brother.
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 20:12)
Everyone is going to be attacked and blamed at times. It’s inevitable. How you respond to such accusations is more important than the fact that you were attacked. But we must learn from Moses’ mistake.
Father, forgive me for leading in anger. Give me the wisdom to immediately turn to you when I’m hurt and to respond precisely as you desire. Deliver me from the need to be seen as right. Let me simply entrust my soul to my faithful Creator and do what is right, just as Your Son has done. Let people see You in my response, not the unrighteous anger of man.
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