Have you ever done something that seemed like no big deal at the time only to realize later that it was a major stumbling block for you? Or better yet, you realized immediately that it was going to be a huge stumbling block for you going forward? I think that would have been my reaction if I were Moses in Numbers 20. The people were beginning (again) to distrust the Lord. The water supply was empty and they were all convinced that death was upon them. In response to the potential uprising, Moses and Aaron do the only thing they know to do and that is to pray. The Lord answers them starting in verse 7…
‘and the Lord said to Moses, “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.” So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord. Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!”’
I’ve read this passage many times before and thought, “God, isn’t that kind of harsh?” I mean, these people, they were rebellious and distrusting. They continually doubt you and try to turn from you. They’ve built idols and blasphemed your name. Isn’t a little scalding the least they deserve? Maybe it was, but that wasn’t the purpose of this day, this water, and this rock.
Gods purpose for that day was to demonstrate His holiness. It was to show the people that he loved and cared for them and that even when they doubted, He was right there with them. But they didn’t see that, they saw wrath and anger burning toward them. It was here that Moses disqualified himself from entering the promised land because he wasn’t the type of leader the Lord needed to build this nation. He needed someone who could demonstrate His holiness, someone who could display the characteristics of a loving God who, even in our darkest times, chases us down and fights for us. Moses’ disqualification wasn’t due to an insignificant incident but it was due to an unresolved heart issue. If you look at Moses’ life there is evidence of a man struggling with anger throughout. It’s the kind of anger that if not resolved results in wrath, murder, and screaming at rocks. The kind of anger that ends with him alone on the top of a mountain staring at the promise of God from a distance.
Are there heart issues in your life that are keeping you from receiving God’s promises? Are there things that you are holding on to that seem insignificant yet have become major stumbling blocks in your life? What are you going to do about it? Hold fast and miss out? Or let go and let God lead you into His promises. I hope today can be the day that you release those hindrances and begin to step into all He’s called you to!