By: Carole L. Haines
“At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood. And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.’ (Deuteronomy 10:1-2)
We all desperately need God’s Grace. Even Moses needed a do-over, several in his lifetime. He killed an Egyptian, forcing him to flee Egypt (Exodus 2:11-15). Here we see God asking him to make two new tablets because he broke the first ones in anger toward the Israelites as they worshipped Aaron’s golden calf (Exodus 32:19-20). But there was yet still a third time that Moses lost his temper.
The Waters of Meribah
“Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.” So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him; and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” (Numbers 20:8-12)
This third time, God pronounces a tremendous consequence for Moses’ sin. He would not be allowed by God to enter The Promised Land with the people. In the above Scripture we see Moses do three things against God’s will.
1) He calls God’s people “rebels.”
2) He says, “shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” He says “we,” as if Moses and Aaron are performing the miracle instead of God.
3) He strikes the rock 2x instead of speaking to it, as God asked him to.
Moses was allowed to lead the people to the Promised land, but Joshua would take over and lead them in. What a sobering lesson for us all. God forgives completely. His mercies are new every morning and His lovingkindness is everlasting. But God does leave some consequences in our lives that reflect some of the sinful or foolish choices we have made. I have those consequences and I am sure you do too.
But God’s allowance of these is all for our good and we can trust him with those, even though we may be confused or bewildered by them. But let me close this with God’s final earthly scene with Moses after he turns away back into the wilderness after Joshua and the people have crossed over into the Promised Land.
“Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, 2 and all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, 3 and the Negev and the plain in the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” 5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 6 And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day. “(Deuteronomy 34:1-6)
God’s mercy is so boundless. Moses gets to see the promised land; but the consequence stays in place. God will not be mocked. But look at the verse of Moses’ burial. Who buried him??? God Himself. God buried Moses Himself. It reminds me of the verse is Psalms:
Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones. (Psalm 116:15)
Thank You, Lord for Your incredible mercy, grace and patience with us. Thank you for all the do-overs and second chances. We are so blessed to belong to You.