“Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.”
‘The end justifies the means’ is the governing principle in the life of many. The implication is very clear, it does not matter how something is done, as long as positive results are reached. However, Moses would learn, though this is a common principle among men, it is not a principle for ministry.
Numbers 20 opens by recording the death of Miraim, the sister of Moses and Aaron. It seems her death hit Moses rather hard, and he may have even blamed the people. It was, in fact, their disobedience that resulted in her never entering the Land of Promise. Directly on the heels of her burial, we find the congregation once again facing a great dilemma; they marched to a place without a sufficient water supply for their vast numbers. As their custom was, they did not look to the Lord, but to Moses, and as usual,began to complain. Moses quickly cried out to the Lord, who promised to provide for the needs of the people. His instruction to Moses was quite clear; “speak to the rock” and water will be supplied. It is here, where Moses allows his emotions to get the better of Him. Instead of speaking to the Rock, he yells at the people and beats on the rock. Sure enough, water is supplied, but not without consequences. Moses would soon learn he and Aaron would be forbidden from entering Canaan.
Why such grave consequences for what seems to be such a minor infraction? I think two things must be kept in mind. The first, Moses represents God. Moses was Israel’s pastor. It was his job to rightly reflect the way God felt about His people. When his voice was raised in anger, and his staff flying about, the people would no doubt conclude God was angry with them, when He was not. All those who stand before men, on behalf of God, should take careful stock of this event. Preachers who constantly yell at, and demean their congregations for failing to live to the standard of God, would do better to simply wash them with the water of the Word.
Second, the consequences were so great because of what the Rock represented. Paul would later refer to this event by calling Christ the Rock. It was on Calvary where he was beaten to provide living water for all who believe. Now that He has been crucified, we need only to speak to the Rock, and this living water will be given to us. A second beating of the same rock was unnecessary.
Whatever you may be facing today, you can call on the Rock of Ages and He will provide living water to satisfy your thirsty soul.