Moses plays a very big role in the Old Testament and in the history of the Israelite people. I remember thinking when I was a kid going through Confirmation classes that it was such a shame Moses died before entering the promised land. I hadn’t really understood the whole story. Even this time through the story, I dug a little deeper to understand what Moses did, if anything, to end his life before reaching the other side of the Jordan.
In today’s reading, God is predicting Moses’ death. He is allowing Moses to see the promised land from a distance. Bittersweet. But God had told Moses and Aaron that their mistake was going to cost them. The LORD said, “For both of you betrayed me with the Israelites at the waters of Meribah at Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. You failed to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel there.” God is speaking of Moses and Aaron. The story in question is recalled in Exodus 17 and Numbers 20.
As I understand it, the people were thirsty because there was no water. Of course, they complained to Moses and Aaron, who then reached out to God. God wasn’t about to let his people die of thirst, so he gave Moses instruction to use God’s power to call water from a rock. However, by striking the rock with his staff, instead of following God’s instructions to speak to it–the manner in which he did it made it look like he (Moses) was the mighty one and not God. There is a lesson here to be sure.
We should never take credit for something God has told us he is going to do. I would even take it a step farther and realize that any amazing feat or accomplishment we are able to make happen certainly involves the power of God. Giving God credit for our successes is certainly going to be pleasing to him. Don’t you think? Moses messed up because he KNEW it was God’s power – why didn’t he give God the glory?
Who knows. But it cost him a trip across the Jordan to finish what he had started. That is, fulfilling God’s promise to his people – to deliver them to the land flowing with milk and honey. Have we missed out on any promises of God because of our own selfish behavior? From a distance was the best Moses was going to get.
That makes me think about what is currently going on in the world with the “social distancing.” It is certainly not very “social,” but it is certainly distancing. We are waving at each other from cars parading outside nursing homes and hospitals. We are attending church online with miles between each member instead of sitting shoulder to shoulder in a pew. How long will this go on? We tell ourselves “it’s only for a season.”
We can certainly ALWAYS draw closer to God. He doesn’t have any quarantine rules. On the contrary, he is hoping we turn to him now more than ever. It is so much better when we rely on his strength, his courage, his protection, his wisdom, etc. If you are feeling less than peaceful in your life, maybe you need to plug in a little more to God’s power.
What are your biggest takeaways from today’s reading? Are you social distancing from God?
Let’s pray…Lord, I thank you that we can always come to you. You are so mighty and worthy of my praise. Help me to draw closer to you. Help me to dig deep and release the lies that are holding me stuck. Continue to use me to do great things so I can marvel at your accomplishments through me. I look forward to giving you all the credit. Thank you for how you are guiding my steps. In Jesus’ name. Amen.