Moses’ job is almost done. God gives Moses one final directive. Go up the mountain, look at the land and lay down to die.
Moses knew this day was coming. He knew he had sinned in the issue with the rock and water. God told him He was displeased with him right after the incident. Moses tried to get God to change His mind but He held firm.
God held Moses to a MUCH higher standard than He did the rest of the people. The people rebelled against God so many times! The first generation received the same consequence Moses is facing today but theirs came after more sins than I can count. Moses had to intercede for them at least twice that I can think of right off the top of my head.
Moses committed one sin. But that sin had a huge impact. Moses was the closest thing to God that the people knew. Even his skin glowed from being in the presence of the Lord. So when he didn’t show God the respect that He was due in front of the people it made ripples in their faith. I don’t know if the people recognized consciously that Moses’ actions were against God’s directives but their spirits probably picked it up.
It was his attitude that got him into trouble. “I’m sick of your whining! Get over here. There’s your water!” Instead of: “Come and see what the Lord will do. He has heard your cries and is about to answer them. Look! Here comes your water!” Either one could have been done with hitting the rock and the people wouldn’t have been any the wiser. Maybe God would even have been fine with the deviation but the attitude is what made the whole thing stink. In fact the attitude drew the strike instead of the voice. Moses struck the rock out of anger instead of faith.
I honestly didn’t recognize attitude as Moses’ issue until just now. I was puzzled as to why God was so hard on Moses for his one sin. BOY do I recognize the attitude issue now! I recognize it in my own life MORE than I care to. I don’t know how many times I get “interrupted” while doing something and get frustrated with the one I’m going to “serve.” MANY times I have had to calm my attitude down between point A and point B so my behavior didn’t shout my feelings. I’ve “pasted on a smile” on the way there AFTER several eye rolls and much mumbling under my breath. NOT the attitude I should be taking!
The right attitude does not mean being a “door mat” where people walk all over you and you lay there and take it. It involves service with love, including knowing when to say “no” to some of the requests. Sometimes “no” is the most loving response you can give. God even says “no” to some of our prayers. Not because He is mad at us and doesn’t want to give us anything but because it is what is best for us in the long run.
God saying “no” to Moses’ request to go into the Promised Land was best for Moses and the people. Instead of giving in to Moses He compromised with him. He let him have a bird’s eye view of what He had planned. I wouldn’t be surprised if God’s presence was on the mountain top with Moses and they talked about what was going to happen with Israel’s future. Moses’ song and his talk with Joshua illustrate that he knew Israel wasn’t going to live by God’s Law forever. They couldn’t do it even when he was with them, they weren’t going to do it long term without him either.
I think that was an “ah ha” moment for Moses. He wanted to be able to go in with the people so he could keep them on the straight and narrow path, but he wasn’t able to keep them from going astray during his time with them. Why would he think he would have been any more successful after crossing the Jordan with them? They were either going to follow the Lord or not. His presence didn’t give them anything God couldn’t provide through Joshua just as well. It was God’s job to direct His people. God was the ONLY one who could be with them and watch them forever. Moses’ role was important but it had to end. The people had to grow beyond him. And THAT is why it was so important for God to say “No.”
Holy Spirit, thank You for showing me the attitude behind the act. Father God, I know that You require more from those who are given more but I felt sorry for Moses and his punishment. Thank You for letting me see it all from a different angle. Thank You for showing him some mercy even in Your commitment to Your answer. You didn’t have to let him see the Promised Land but You did.
THANK YOU that You show me mercy in my lessons too. I KNOW my attitude gets out of line too often. I am working on that. I have an internal dialogue that helps me through some of the tougher times. Help me in the area of intimacy that I’m struggling with right now. I want to be sensitive to my husband’s needs but also want him to respect some boundaries. Help him with the overages that the medications are engendering. Help him find a healthy balance for both of us. Keep my attitude in check. THANK YOU that we even have this issue to deal with. Without the improvements he is experiencing this wouldn’t have even come up. Thank You for providing the physicians, the technology and the finances that have given him a practically pain free life. Help me work on trusting his recovery areas more.