Reacting in the Flesh


I dislike this chapter of the Bible. Moses and Aaron are told they can’t enter the Promised Land after 40 years of leading the Israelites to get there. Of course, it’s not God’s Word that I dislike. It’s the knowing how easily that could have been me, knowing how easily I could have sinned in the same way. And the punishment seems so harsh, though not unjust. No Promised Land?

We do see Moses appear later to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration and we see Moses in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11, so we do believe it was only the physical Promised Land he was kept out of; but it’s scary nonetheless.

What was their sin? They didn’t trust God. They didn’t believe God would be Who He said He was. It’s the same sin as the spies who acted like God couldn’t bring them successfully into the Promised Land and then tried to go in and fight on their own.

God said speak to the rock. God speaks things into existence. Moses always did an action that God told him to do. He raised his arms, threw down his staff, etc. God had already brought water from a rock by Moses striking a rock. It wasn’t Moses; it was God who brought the water.

Moses knew that’s how it worked before, and instead of trusting God’s command to just speak, he relies on his past victory. He believed that God would bring water when he struck the rock.

He’s acting as savior. He’s taking matters into his own hands. Why would the meekest man on earth act this way? He was angry. He was so frustrated with the complaining Israelites. He was reacting in the flesh.

Actually, he reacts the right way at first, falling on his face before God. But he doesn’t stay there long enough. He leaves still angry instead of leaving his burden with God for God to carry for him.

I know I have done this. Turned to prayer over a situation but thinking about it and stewing instead of really praying and giving it over to the point of trusting Him with it, getting up and saying something or writing an email instead of letting God sort it out. I had to get out what was in me, but I needed to get it out in prayer. I needed to leave my burden at the cross and not just pick it back up again when I finished praying.

Having the reaction to turn to God is great, but we need the fortitude to stay there until we can give it all up to Him and trust it in His hands.