May 20th 2010
Humbly Trusting God In Every Situation
“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.’ So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, ‘Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?’ Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.’”
Numbers 20:7-12 (NIV)
Moses was a very humble man (Numbers 12:3). He never looked to himself but always to the work God had for him to do for the good of other people. He started from very humble beginnings, left in a basket in the river. He was humbled at the burning bush, when he was told to remove his shoes and recognise the presence of God. And he was humble enough to trust God to give him the strength to approach Pharaoh and lead Israel out of slavery even though he wasn’t the most eloquent speaker. Humble enough to trust God to give them a way out when they were trapped at the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s armies closing in rapidly behind. Humble enough to trust God to provide food and water in the middle of the desert. Despite the fact that the people just kept complaining, Moses had a simple trust knowing that everything depended on God and nothing on him. He directed people’s worship towards God and away from pagan idolatry. He knew his place in the world.
Except for this one occasion described in Numbers 20. God had given so much miraculous deliverance, yet for some reason on this occasion Moses forgot and promoted himself instead of God before the people. Just once. “Must we bring you water out of this rock?” he said. No acknowledgement of God, and not only did Moses point the people to himself, he also did it his own way. He struck the rock instead of speaking to it. And because of that one mistake, that moment of self-righteousness, Moses was unable to enter the Promised Land towards which he’d spent decades leading his people. He had lived a life of humble submission to God for so long, but just one slip up led to dire consequences.
There’s an important lesson here for us. As Christians we need to be humble and trust God in every situation, realising that we can’t do anything of ourselves. We are broken sinners—our very best will never be good enough. We are entirely dependent on Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. And even when we think we are being humble and trusting God to provide for our every need, we must be careful as we can very quickly forget and turn back and start looking to ourselves again.
How blessed we are, though, that God is eternally merciful to us and even our occasional mistakes are covered by the grace available to us in Jesus Christ, and he will not allow anything to prevent us entering the real promised land of God’s kingdom.
Lord, help me to be truly humble, to recognise that everything I am depends on you. Help me to trust and submit to you in every situation, and through Jesus Christ to rid myself of any pockets of self-righteousness I may have. Thank you for the grace continually available to me through Jesus’ sacrifice.
Study by Simon Williams