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05.08.17 | by Pastor Judd Dixon

    I have 3 beautiful children ranging from the ages of 7 to 2. There are times when they exhaust my patience in asking for something that I say, “No. So don’t ask again.” Generally speaking they know at that point that dad means business and it would be in their own self-interest to forget about what they want. I think there are times when God gets that way with us.

    In Deuteronomy 3:26-27 we get a fascinating look inside the special relationship between God and Moses. “But the LORD was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. Go to the top of Pisgah and lift your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan.’”

    Moses led the Children of Israel for 40 years in the desert and they were difficult. They complained and grumbled constantly and no matter how miraculously God provided for them, whenever things got difficult they longed to go back to Egypt, the place of bondage and captivity.

    But a pivotal moment comes in Numbers 20:10-13, when the stress of the situation caused Moses to disobey God. The people were thirsty and complained about the absence of water. Though God had earlier told Moses to strike the rock, this time God wanted him to just speak to the rock and God would provide water. In his frustration Moses struck the rock twice. Though God still sent water, Moses was prevented from experiencing the Promised Land.

    But as Moses is coming to the end of his life it seems he thinks that Israel was to blame for his inability to go further. This leads me to two conclusions about the deceptive nature of our sin. First, we are quick to blame others instead of owning our wrongs. Yes the Israelites were unbelieving, complainers, but they didn’t make Moses hit the rock twice. That was Moses’ sin, not theirs. God doesn’t punish us for others’ sin, we are only responsible for what we do.

    Second, Moses sees his missed opportunity for the Promised Land as anger. No doubt God was grieved by what Moses had done, but God didn’t kill Moses at the rock. Thunder and lightning and earthquakes weren’t present at the rock. Just the still, small voice of God disappointedly telling Moses he would miss the Promised Land. Too many have the mistaken impression that God is angry but David said, “Let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is very great.”