Friday, March 25, 2011

Revelation of Moses' Punishment

I was awakened one night a few years ago by the Lord. He drew me downstairs, where I sat staring into my bible...the book of Numbers. I had been reading Numbers and was intrigued by the "water from the rock." Not so much the miracle, but the method by which God dealt with Moses regarding a little fit of anger he displayed. I thought the punishment of not being able to enter the Promised Land was harsh against Moses. The thinking of my relatively un-renewed mind was that after all, God knew Moses...He had certainly committed worse sin before God ever decided to use him.

In Egypt, at the age of forty, he killed a man. Then he ran away to the desert where God left him another forty years before he was ready to use him. Time apparently needed to get Moses out of Moses. Now, at one hundred twenty years old, the end of his third forty year span, the end of his life, and his brilliant service to the Lord, he was not allowed to enter in to the Promised Land.

Yes, I understand that God told him to speak to the rock, but he hit it instead. He and Aaron also took credit for the miracle God performed. He was also God's appointed leader which carries a great deal of responsibility. But, you do realize that those people...those people Moses had the job of leading were not exactly nice.

I find it a little amusing that at one point, at Mount Sinai, neither Moses nor the Lord seemed to want to claim them. The Lord called them Moses' people, and Moses called them the Lord's (Ex.32). By the time they arrived, for the second time, at the waters of Meribah they had grumbled, complained, and rebelled against Moses and God. Moses sister had just passed away, and here they were again at a place where thirty- seven years earlier the same thing had happened. The Israelites seemed to forget that their wanderings and sufferings were a result of their own sin, and that of their relatives. They blamed it all on Moses.

This is not uncommon even for people today. We like to complain and blame others for the situations we get ourselves into. According to Psalm 78, the children of Israel limited God in the wilderness by their complaining and unbelief of His goodness. Unfortunately, we do not often learn from others mistakes.

That's why they are written there you know...the mistakes and shortcomings of bible folks. The Holy Spirit lets us see faults of every writer in the bible, so that we could learn from them. Oh well, another message for another time. Where was I? Why was God so hard on Moses? This is the man whom God called the meekest in the world! But He pronounced this judgment on him, and later when Moses would ask Him about going into the Promised Land, the Lord would tell him not to even ask Him about it again. (Deut.3:25-26)

 In other words, it was final!

Well there I was, staring into the bible, in the wee hours of the morning. Then the Lord showed me something. He told Moses, "because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them."(Num.20:12). That is the only reason He gave...and it was sufficient. He was justified. God only needs one good reason and He used Moses' disobedience.

But...He had other reasons as well.

God had given Moses a reason, and as far as anyone ever has the right to say, He was justified. But it goes deeper. The Lord showed me two more reasons that changed me forever. First, that day Moses broke one of the types that God had placed in the bible for us, when he struck that rock. If you recall some thirty-seven years prior, in Exodus 17:6, they had been at that same location, with the same problem… no water. God had instructed Moses to take the staff, and STRIKE the rock. Yes strike. He did, and water came forth. Well this time God told him to simply SPEAK to the rock for the same desired result. He did not. He struck it, not once, but twice.

 Then God, out of love for the people, in His great mercy even though Moses had disobeyed, brought forth water from the rock. Moses had no way of knowing, but God knew that the first time that rock (or should I say The Rock) was struck would be the only time. See that striking of the rock in Exodus was symbolic. It was a type and shadow of things to come. It was a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Rock, being struck down on Calvary (although He was not actually struck down because He freely gave up His life for you and me). So the next time was to be a type also. God wanted Moses to show us a picture of a beautiful promise which would come through the Messiah.

God told him to simply speak to the rock and the water would come forth. This was a picture of what is available to us today that ever since He allowed them to strike Him down for the sin of the entire world, all we have to do is speak. Just ask, and the grace that has been provided for all men can be ours. Just by that simple act of faith, asking...He will come into our hearts. And not only that, but by asking Him, we can receive that living water. Just as Jesus said that day when He stood up and proclaimed that any man that thirsts could come to Him and drink, and out of his belly would flow rivers of living water. That living water is symbolic of the Word of God, quickened by the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is the only one who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. 
“John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” ” Luke 3:16 NIV

“I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”  John 1:33 NIV

So you see when Moses hit the rock again, not once but twice, it was like crucifying Jesus all over again. And that will never happen.

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” Hebrews 6:4-6

 His sacrifice was perfect and when it was accomplished He sat down at the right hand of the Father. There will never be a need for another sacrifice. He is overpayment for any debt we could ever have.

 Lastly that night, God showed me a beautiful example of grace. He showed me that He never intended to allow Moses to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land.

That's right. Moses was never supposed to lead them all the way in. Instead, God chose Joshua (another type), whose name means the same as Jeshua, or Jesus. Moses is God's representative of the law. So for Moses to lead the children of Israel (who are a type of the church) into the Promised Land, it would have sent us the message that we could get there on our own, under the law, by self-effort, or good works. No way. Many are still trying to earn their way to heaven, but it is impossible.

 God could not allow His servant Moses to take them in because it would have sent the wrong picture to all believers in the future. God wanted to make sure we knew the only way to get across that proverbial "Jordan River" into the promised land of our salvation is a bridge made of an old rugged cross.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father, except by (or through) Him.

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