12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
Numbers 20:12 - 13
ESV - 12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them. 13 These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.
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Even though Moses was spoken of very favorably as someone with whom God spoke face to face (as one would with a friend) (Exodus 33:11), there remained a quantum difference between Moses (as is the case with any human) and God. Moses was (and would always remain) a fallen being who was at best a servant of God, and Moses should have been mindful of that fact at all times (as he was when God initially appeared to him in the burning bush, and Moses hid his face after God had identified Himself, because he was afraid to look at Him (Exodus 3:6)). Forgetting that distinction puts one on the road to the sin of pride, which is the complete anti-God state of mind. It was through such pride that Lucifer became Satan (Isaiah 14:12-15). Although God is loving and merciful, He is also (as He has described Himself) a jealous God (Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14), who will not share His unique, rightful glory with anyone or anything. Although Moses was undoubtedly motivated by frustration and anger with the Israelites in the words that he spoke and the actions that he took in Numbers 20:10-11, that did not excuse the manner in which he spoke of himself as having the power to bring water from the rock (when it was entirely God's doing), or in which he disobeyed God's explicit instruction to merely speak to the rock, instead of striking it as he did (and not just once, but twice) with his staff, again implying or giving the appearance before the people that he was personally involved in causing the miracle that took place, and indicating his own lack of faith in the instruction that God had given him by feeling that he had to add to it. God could not leave that action unpunished. He would even have been justified in taking Moses' life, as He did on other occasions when the Israelites acted presumptuously (as with Dathan and Abiram in Numbers 16). From that perspective, one could say that God was being merciful to Moses in "only" punishing him by not permitting him to enter the Promised Land. Although Christians know God's love and mercy through Jesus, and can relate to Him as a true human, this account of Moses should always remain in their minds as a cautionary warning never to forget God's utter holiness, and never to assume unjustified familiarity with God by approaching Him as their equal, rather than remembering that they are sinners who have access to God only as a result of His grace by faith in Christ (John 14:6).
Moses did have a problem with his temper. Earlier in his life he lost his temper and killed an Egyptian (Ex 2:12). Now Moses, because of his temper, he lost an opportunity to glorify God. He got angry, and instead of speaking to the rock, he takes the rod and strikes the rock twice (Numbers 20:10, 11). He briefly forgot that it was not Moses who was bringing the water out of the rock, but it was God. And because of that, Moses was not allowed to go into the Promised Land. ‘But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them’ (Numbers 20:12). But is more than that. This chapter is overflowing with symbolism: that rock symbolizes Christ (1 Cor 10:2, 3, 4). Moses had struck the rock once earlier (Ex 17:6). It was not to be struck twice. Christ was to be struck only once for our sins (Isaiah 53:5), and the whole symbolism was ruined by what Moses had done in anger.
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