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Friday, September 3, 2010

The Promised Land In This Lifetime or Don’t Hit The Rock

Moses was a great man of God but he never got to enter the Promised Land.
Like him we may be following God and be saved but miss out on blessing God has for us in this lifetime. Let’s read Numbers 20:7-12 to see what kept Moses from entering the Promised Land. God told Moses “Take the rod; and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield water.” Moses had before been told to strike the Rock and water flowed out of the rock, but this time the instructions were to speak to the rock and not strike it. However we see in Numbers 20:3-5 the people of the congregation are complaining again to Moses and Aaron. By now Moses has seen them complaining many times and it has had a big price (forty years in the wilderness). Moses was frustrated and angry with them for complaining again and lacking faith. So he went out and instead of speaking to the rock he said to the people “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?" Then he struck the rock twice with his rod. Because of this he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.
At first this may seem like a stiff penalty for this. But if we investigate we may find more insight as why God took this seriously. To understand this we must know what the rock is. When a rock is spoken of in God’s word I have learned to look for Jesus. We are to build our life on the “rock” that is Jesus and He will offer us “living water” that if we drink we will never thirst again. When Moses wanted to see God’s glory he was placed in a cleft in the rock for protection. We cannot come close to God and see even a glimpse of God without the protection and covering of Jesus our cleft or damaged “rock”. In 1 Corinthians 10:4 we see Apostle Paul speaking of the people who followed Moses. He said “All drank the same spiritual drink. For they all drank of that spiritual rock that followed them. And that rock is Jesus.”
So when Moses hit the rock in a sense he was hitting Jesus. All parents are very protective of their children. If you hit my child with a stick I am going to protect her. When you hit God’s only Son He will want to protect Him. Every time we sin we are hitting Jesus again, and their may be a cost to us in this lifetime for this behavior.

Many of the things in the Old Testament speak of what was and is still to come in Jesus Christ. They are physical pictures of spiritual truths for us. This moment with the rock and the stick is like that. I believe God intended this moment of speaking to the rock to be prophetic about when Jesus came and offered us living water (The Holy Spirit). In John 7:38-39 Jesus said, “If any Man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believe on Me, as the scriptures have said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water”. Jesus said this to the people as the came together on the last day of the Feast of Tabenacles a Jewish celebration of the time in the desert when they were saved by the water flowing out of the rock. It was to be a picture of how to lead people to Jesus to get a drink of the spirit, but instead God used it as a lesson for how not to do it.
Moses misrepresented God and messed up the positive message. Moses hit the rock out of anger with the rod. He was told to speak to the rock with a rod in his hand. We see that rod earlier in Numbers 17:8 sprouted blossoms and almonds (fruit). This rod spoke of his authority to lead and speaks of being born again (it came back to life). The fruit speaks of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control,” We can only show others God’s glory if we are born again (changed and renewed) and we walk out our lives in the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, patience, kindness, etc.). Moses came with impatience, hostility, anger, and a lack of self control, but none of the fruit. We can’t represent God this way and have good results. Moses polluted the picture God wanted others to see. James 1:20 says For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
When we as Christians representing God are seen by others with anger, hostility, impatience, and speak unkind words we pollute the picture God wants others to see in us. We can’t bless others with anger and hostility in our hearts and God blesses those who bless others. With the wrong attitude we will not receive all the blessings God has for us in this lifetime (The Promised Land). When we hit the rock (Jesus) by continual sin in our lives there will be consequences for our sin in this lifetime.
Moses was to speak to the rock carrying the rod in his hand that had sprouted blossoms and almonds. We are to speak to Jesus carrying with us a born again life (true cahange) and the fruit of the spirit. In this way we can give people a drink of the “living water” or the Holy Spirit. Speaking to a rock would have appeared strange to many. When we pray to a God that others can’t see it must seem strange to them. But with the fruit of the spirit in hand and the changed life of being born again and prayers to Jesus we can show them how to get a drink of “living water” and lead them out of a spiritual wilderness into the Promised Land or a better spirit filled life.
God’s mercy and grace is beyond any knowledge we could have. Moses probably thought God was fed up with the complaining. But we do not know God’s limits. God still let the water flow out of the rock even when Moses was disobedient. Moses still went to heaven when he died. Moses even got to be in the Promised Land 1500 years later when he and Elijah met Jesus on the mountain and Jesus was transfigured.
Moses had a bad day and he was treated unjustly by the congregation who “gathered against Moses and Aaron” and “contended with Moses”. He reacted to this unjust behavior with anger and frustration. How did the rock (Jesus) react to being beaten unjustly? Jesus on His “bad day” shows us all how it should be done. Jesus did not show hostility or anger He did not even defend himself. He prayed for those who unjustly hurt Him. In Luke 23:34 He said “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” He also kept his eye on heaven and doing God’s work. In Luke 23:43 He said “Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” Keeping you eye on heaven and God’s work helps keep a smile on our faces. The “rock” when beaten unjustly still let the water flow.

Just like Moses, we may see the blessings now or we may not. But through God’s grace and mercy we are saved and have eternal life. And just like Moses someday we will return and see the Promised Land with Jesus on a mountain top. It says in Zachariah 14 “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” and “The Mount of olives will be split in two” and “in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, and all the saints will be with Him".

We still have salvation if we believe in Christ even when we mess up. But we may miss out on some of the blessings God has in mind for us in our time on earth if we don’t represent God in the way he has in mind. Don’t hit the rock with the stick instead speak to it and carry the rod with blossoms and fruit. We need to speak to Jesus (pray) and walk showing others our born again lives and the fruit of the Spirit if we want to lead others who are spiritually thirsty to the living water and the Promised Land of a spirit filled life.


  1. Thank you for what you said. I needed to hear it.

  2. Thank you. I need it too as much as anyone else