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What happened to Moses?
- Jacob Ninan
We know the incident where God asked Moses to speak to the rock in order to get water for the people (Nu.20:8), instead of striking it with his rod as he had been told to do earlier. Moses still struck the rock with the rod. A 'type' of Christ was involved here as our Rock who would be stricken once for all for bringing life and healing to us (He.9:26). After we have received 'salvation' there is no need for Christ to be stricken again for our sin--we need only to ask Him (1Jn.1:9). But Moses who had become the meekest (gentlest) man on earth (Nu.12:3) and obeyed the Lord exactly in all that the Lord commanded him disobeyed Him at this point. God reproved him and told him that he would not be able to lead the people into the promised land.
Possibly Moses did not even realise that he was disobeying Him. He was 'mad' with the people who were rebellious and obstinate. When they complained to him yet once again he lost control. He shouted at them, "You rebels! Must we now bring you water from this rock?" The meekest man had become 'exalted'. He looked down on the people from his heart. Wasn't there an attitude that despised them, rebels though they were? The leader who had meekly led those millions from Egypt up to the borders of the promised land began to 'lord it over them' instead of continuing to be their servant. God could no longer recognise him as a leader, and the leadership was passed on to Joshua.
Jesus and the apostles described the godly concept of servant leadership (Mt.23:11). Jesus Himself humbled Himself to become the servant of all men, and that was why God recognised Him as the greatest of all (Php.2:6-9). Even in the Old Testament, David who was after God's own heart was a servant leader who knew his own boundaries (1Sa.24:6) and who would not treat his people as if they were worthless (2Sa.23:15-17). God always looks for such people to be His leaders for the people. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, sooner than later.
Even though self-exaltation can be noticed by other people in the course of time, it can begin in our heart much earlier. When fame and recognition come from people around us we forget how God once picked us up from the dirt, washed our wounds, and clothed us in a righteousness that was not our own, and we begin to look down on others. Finally we may say, "You rebels! You compromisers! You ignorant ones! You foolish ones!" We forget that God gives us responsibility and authority not because we are inherently better than others but because of His own sovereign choice (Ro.9:13). If we have been 'faithful' it is only because He gave us grace (1Co.15:10). Who are we to think and behave as if our own efforts have made us 'great' and start looking down on others? It seems Moses didn't realise his real sin (De.4:21), and repent like David. Let us fear lest it should happen to us too. Let us be diligent to keep our heart humble (Pr.4:23).