Totally I forgot I was going to do today's post for Nathan - oops!
In our OT passage today we see Moses react in anger towards the Israelites constant complaining (quite understandably it seems to me!), and in the process he disobeys God, forfeiting the privilege of entering the Promised Land.
Perhaps this punishment seems extreme to us. I know I have often thought so. Why was this punishment so severe?
This site says.....
What did Moses do that warranted such a severe penalty from the Lord? First, Moses disobeyed a direct command from God. God had commanded Moses to speak to the rock. Instead, Moses struck the rock with his staff. Second, Moses took the credit for bringing forth the water. Notice how in verse 10 Moses says, "Must we [referring to Moses and Aaron] bring you water out of this rock?" Moses took credit for the miracle himself, instead of attributing it to God. Third, Moses committed this sin in front of all the Israelites. Such a public example of direct disobedience could not go unpunished. Fourth, it seems that God had intended to present a type of Christ in this circumstance. The water-giving rock is used as a symbol of Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:4. The rock was struck once in Exodus 17:6, just like Christ was crucified once (Hebrews 7:27). Moses’ speaking to the rock in Numbers 20 was to be a picture of prayer; instead, Moses angrily struck the rock, in effect, crucifying Christ again. His punishment for disobedience, pride, and the misrepresentation of Christ’s sacrifice was that he was barred from entering the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12).
Maybe not such a small deal after all.
But truthfully? God doesn't need to prove Himself to me. My initial thought that it was a severe and unjust penalty shows my sinful nature. First of all, to even think that anything God does is unjust or severe is sinful. Secondly, it shows how easy it is, from this side of history and the cross, to presume upon God's mercy. The instant we begin to think we somehow deserve mercy, is the moment we realize we do not understand the huge chasm that exists between God's holiness and our sinfulness.
We deserve instant death for only one of our sins. Every moment we continue to breathe is a moment God extends mercy to us.
God showed mercy to Moses. He didn't kill him on the spot, He most certainly didn't banish Him from heaven for all eternity. Instead, He barred him from entering the Promised Land - an act that was both just and merciful.
May we daily (sometimes hourly!) be reminded to be purposefully mindful of (and thankful for!) God's mercy and grace.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Numbers 23-25; Mark 7:14-37