Speak To Your Rock! Why Moses Didn’t Enter into the Promise Land!
(Ver 2.4) If you have ever read my blogs you know that I can be controversial. I say things that are new and different. But, I can only say what God teaches me to say and I have learned that God is different than anyone else I’ve ever met. So if I say what God says to me, it will probably be different than what most men say and teach. Today I want to explore some scriptures that God taught me many years ago. Why didn’t Moses get to enter into the promise land? What kept Moses out from the promised end of God’s plan? The examples written in the Old Testament are there so that we can learn not to repeat the same mistakes that they made. If we can learn these lessons from Moses, I think we can apply them to our situations today. We have a better covenant, established upon better promises, yet we do not possess them automatically. Even though God had already given the children of Israel the Promised Land, they were required to do something to possess it. This is an extremely valuable natural typology of a pattern that is repeated in the spiritual realm for the church. So let’s examine what kept Moses out of possessing God’s Promised Land.
I want to examine verses in the book of Numbers. In chapter 20 of Numbers, Moses has a big problem again. He is attempting to lead the people of Israel through a desert, there is little to no water to drink and the people and the animals are all very thirsty. Moses goes to God and asks for help and God responds with a set of specific instructions, so let’s now start reading with what God says to Moses in the desert.
Num 20:8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
God gives Moses a very specific set of instructions with a limited number of steps. These are not complicated steps, but yet people sometimes hear what they want to hear, instead of what God says and that get’s them into trouble in a very big way. As we read through the rest of this chapter we find that Moses did not do what God said to do. Let’s examine carefully the specific set of instructions that God gave:
- Take Your Rod.
- Get Your Brother Aaron.
- Gather the People before the Rock.
- Speak to the Rock.
- Give Everyone a Drink.
Five little things God told Moses to do. There were five little specific steps of instructions from God. Was this complicated? No! Was this different? Yes! God had never given these instructions to Moses before, so maybe Moses had a struggle with them or maybe Moses just assumed he knew what God had said. Maybe he heard in his mind something different? I do not know, I do know that it is interesting that Moses is the one that wrote this book of the Bible and if he made a mistake or didn’t understand it why did he write about his short comings? Interesting question isn’t it? What I learned from observing the instructions of God is that He rarely repeats exactly what He said for you to do before. If God told you to strike the rock last time, then guess what you will probably be doing something different the next time. I’ll talk more about that later. Let’s read through Numbers and examine what Moses did, instead of following God’s instructions:
Num 20:9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him.
Num 20:10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
Moses makes a great start to obeying God, but a really lousy ending. Let’s examine what Moses did according to these two verses and list the steps that he took:
- Moses Took the Rod.
- Moses Met with His Brother Aaron.
- Moses and Aaron Gathered the People Together Before the Rock.
- Moses Then Said to the People.
The first 3 steps seem to be perfect matches to the instructions that God gave to Moses. So when did God ever tell Moses to say anything to the people? I know that you have to say something to them to gather them or assemble them before the rock, but when did God tell Moses to speak to the people after they were all gathered together? Did God tell Moses to preach to the congregation? Did God say to tell the congregation anything at all? I do not think that He did. This represents the beginning of the downfall of Moses. As soon as you start deviating from the plan of God, you begin to miss it and you fall into disobedience and there is the root of his problem. If we continue reading in the next verse we will see what Moses did next:
Num 20:11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts
Did you see what happened next? Let’s continue our list of what Moses did and analyze them to see what they say to us. We are now on step 5 of what Moses did.
5. Moses Lifted His Hand.
6. Moses Smote the Rock.
7. Moses Smote the Rock Again.
8. Moses Gave Everyone a Drink.
You can see that Moses did eight things to God’s 5 step plan of instructions. How many things is that, too many? Of course that is 3 things too many. God never told Moses to raise his hand. God never told Moses to strike the Rock. Why did Moses have to hit the rock twice? I think it was simply because nothing happened the first time Moses hit the rock. I believe that God realized that Moses wasn’t going to follow the plan so He was merciful and gave them water to drink anyway. Moses had to hit the rock twice before anything came out and I bet you that Moses was a little concerned after nothing happened the first time that he struck the Rock. What we must realize is that even though God still gave the people a drink, Moses’ actions taken had grave consequences attached to them. So what was God’s response to Moses and Aaron’s actions taken? Was God pleased? Of course not, God says something that is very profound:
Num 20:12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
God reveals the reason Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock, as being a case of his unbelief. Moses apparently had a problem with speaking to an inanimate object and expecting anything to happen from just your spoken words. I’ll bet you a lot of Christians are still like Moses today. God was trying to teach His servant Moses a valuable lesson about the spiritual law of words. Words have authority and power behind them and God was attempting to raise Moses’ expectation level and spiritual awareness. We know that previously in the wilderness that God had told Moses to strike the rock to bring out water for the people, but this time God changed the plan. If you did not realize it, God hardly ever does the same thing twice. By God’s instructions, Moses was supposed to speak to the rock before the people. So while the people were watching, the people would have learned a valuable spiritual lesson also. But, Moses failed and as a result God told him that he would not enter into the Promised Land that he had already given to them. That is a sad lesson, but that is not the entire story. You see you have not gotten the symbolism in this story found in Numbers. It is very important to see that this story is covered with types and shadows of spiritual things to come. The children of Israel are a type of the church. Moses and Aaron are types of the leaders in the church. The Rock is a type of Jesus Christ. The Promised Land is a type of the Word of God, the promises of the New Covenant. The wilderness can represent the time of trials or tests in the life of believers. The water is most often representative of the spiritual drink of God’s Word.
1Co 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
1Co 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
1Co 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
So what are the lessons that we the church should learn from this one story in the Bible?
Let’s go back through the story again and this time look for the spiritual typology. God tells Moses to take his rod. The rod represents a symbol of power and authority. It can also be a symbol of correction. You can rule with a rod of iron and that would represent a strict control of intolerance or of a swift set of consequences for disobedience. However, God never tells Moses to do anything with this power symbol. God then tells Moses to get with Aaron his brother. I feel like this represents church leadership talking together and working together for a common goal for the good of the people. Then God tells these leaders to gather the people. The people represent the church and they should be meeting together to witness the example of the leadership of God’s plan in order to learn what God is doing. Now, here is the real lesson from the story. I believe that we can see and learn a lot from the next instruction that God gives to Moses. Step 4 God said for the leadership to “speak to the Rock”. What did the Bible say was the Rock? The Rock represents Jesus Christ. So what is Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is the answer to your every problem. What was Moses’ problem? No water or angry upset rebellious people? Obviously Moses’ problem was his own people. You need to understand this, because it is very important to see. People are the biggest problem in any church. If it weren’t for people, church would be a great place to be. People are the biggest challenge any minister faces. People like to talk, gossip, complain, criticize and many other ungodly things. People will start divisions, confrontations, internal fights, and just complain about anything they think that doesn’t fit with what they want to see happen. People will start petitions, call for church meetings and votes to try to run the show and all along disregard God’s appointed leadership, his anointing, His plans and His purposes. God has placed leadership in the church. Pastors and teachers are called by God and appointed by God to do a specific job in a specific way. Most of the time God deals with the leadership of the church and tells them exactly what to do and say to the people. This is a significant learning point from the patterns found in the story of Moses and the children of Israel. God never addressed the congregation or spoke to anyone in the congregation directly about how to run the the group or what to do. God always went through His chosen leader recognizing spiriutal organization and sturcture. This is how a church is supposed to operate today. In the church it is a little bit different in that God is inside of every believer and He will speak personal direction to each individual believer. However, God still recognizes spiritual order and He will not tell anyone in the church how to run the church other than the pastor.
Where was Moses’ downfall? What was the first thing that Moses did that was not on God’s instruction list of 5 specific steps? If you recall the downfall came when he started talking to the people. This is a critical lesson for preachers as well as for the congregation members to take note of. Here is the principle that Moses failed in. Moses had a problem with the people in that they were thirsty which caused them to be rebellious. Why didn’t Moses just speak to the Rock and get the answer to his problem? Instead of speaking to the Rock and getting the answer, Moses called the people “rebellious rebels”. Here God is trying to teach Moses a lesson concerning a spiritual law of speaking the answer and Moses chooses to speak the problem instead. Wow, did you just hear what I said? That was more than worth your time reading this lesson if just you understood that one very important point. This is a critical lesson to learn and apply to our situations today. God never said to speak to the people, and speaking to the people who were the problem was not going to bring Moses the answer. You know if you tell someone who is a thief that they are a thief, it will never cause them to come up higher and change? If you speak to rebels and say they are rebels, they will never learn to change. Speaking to your problem and saying they are your problem will cause them to continue as they are and they will remain your problem because of your words spoken over them. The people of Israel never learned any lessons from this experience. Moses never learned any lessons either. God told Moses that he was not going to lead the people into the Promised Land because of his unbelief. Moses was probably one of the greatest Old Testament prophets of God and he came far short of the destiny that God had intended for him. Can’t you see how his example of failure applies to you and can it help you not to repeat his mistake? If you can, it will radically change what you say to who and when. Many times it would be better to keep your mouth shut and not say anything than to speak the problem and remain in unbelief and miss out on God’s answer to your problem. God told Moses that if he would only speak to the rock, that the rock would obey his words. That statement boggles most Christian’s religious minds. God will do what I say? If you would only study the Bible and what it says about the words that you speak, you would certainly change many of the things that you say. The problem is that most Christians fall into the same unbelief category and continue to speakto and about their problems. Earlier in the book of Numbers, God revealed two things to Moses and Israel that have a direct bearing on everything that I just said about Moses. You see it would be unjust if God punished Moses for doing something that God had not already told him to do and explained to Moses how things will work. If we go back and read we will discover that God had already given Moses two spiritual laws to learn and to follow. Take a look at what God says in these verses:
Num 6:22 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 6:23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
Num 6:24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
God taught Moses and Aaron, that they could bless Israel with the words that came out of their mouths. By Moses speaking these positive good words over the people, God was able to bless them and cause them to prosper. As you read down in this chapter, Moses and Aaron are supposed to say several other words of blessing and then in verse 26, God concludes that “I will bless them“. Here is the principle given, you speak blessings and I will bless them! Did you get that concept? That is exactly the opposite of what Moses said and did. Moses looked at the people and called them “Rebels”. Can God bless these words? What you find is that Moses ended up cursing his own people with his words and that is a major problem. God cannot bless Israel because Moses did not follow the instructions of God and the spiriutal laws of God. To emphasize the point even clearer to Moses in couple of chapters God tells him directly something that is very hard to misunderstand:
Num 14:28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
These words were spoken directly to Moses and Aaron, the leadership of the nation of Israel some 6 chapters earlier than the “speak to the rock” chapter in Numbers 20. God reveals to Moses a spiritual law concerning his words that he speaks. This spiritual law applies across the board to everyone in the congregation as well as the leadership. God tells Moses that I will do whatever you say. This verse tells me that God listens to the words that come out of your mouth. Whatever you say, that is what God will do to you. I know most Christians do not believe this. That just doesn’t make any sense does it? Why would God do that? I do not know, but yet it is exactly what the Bible just said, isn’t it? I guess Christians think these people in the wilderness were different than us today. They were not really examples that we can learn anything from. I guess people do not realize they are our examples and we better learn from their mistakes, or we will be doomed to repeat their failures. There are many other Bible verses that I could go into right here to confirm what I have just said. You can study them for your selves and see if they are there, or you can simply ignore them all and think they do not apply to you. I’ll give you one confirmation to the words that I have just taught on and this is information found in the book of Psalms:
Psa 106:32 They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:
Psa 106:33 Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.
As you can read this is God’s commentary on the story of Moses that we just studied. In these verses God tells us that the children of Israel made Moses angry. God calls this the waters of strife. By making Moses angry we are informed that his spirit was provoked to speak unadvisedly with his lips. You can clearly see from this verse that it was what Moses said that was his problem and not his striking the rock. You should learn that what you say is also potentially your greatest problem area and learn to control your tongue even when angry or being upset. You can clearly see a connection of what you say coming from your spirit inside of you. This is an extremely valuable lesson to see and to learn from.
One of the most important subjects in the Bible to study and to understand is that about your spoken words. God tells us that He is listening to what we say and that He will do to us whatever we say. If we speak evil, that is what we will get. If we speak good things, that is also what we will get. Your words only affect your outcome and what you get. Because, the children of Israel, murmured and complained to God about their situation that is what they got. The older generation did not enter into the promise land, except for Joshua and Caleb. What made Joshua and Caleb different? What caused Joshua and Caleb to enter in where the other people their age all died? You should go back and read that story very closely and see what Joshua and Caleb said, when the others said the exact opposite. God did to Joshua and Caleb what they said and the others also got what they said. This is a prevalent reality found throughout the Bible, from cover to cover. You can read practically any story in the Bible and you can observe very closely exactly what they say, then read ahead and see what they got in life. It amazes me when I study the Bible like this and see what God’s response is to what people say. I know there are other spiritual laws in the Bible also; this one is not the only spiritual law that affects what people get in life. But, this one is certainly one of the ones’ that people do not have a clue about. Elvis Presley said he would never live to be older than his mother and he did not. My grandmother said that a crazy driver would be her end and two teenagers racing ran into the side of her car and killed her. If you look at what you have today and analyze it with what you said in the past, it will almost always add up to the same results. Learn to be careful what you say even in jokes. I’ll try to do more lessons on words in other blogs, but I have gone long enough today. God Bless!
If you would like to continue reading this series on words, you can go to “Part 2“.
Posted on April 23, 2010, in Bible Study, Understanding, Words and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, man, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Truth, understanding, Words. Bookmark the permalink. 121 Comments.