Numbers 20:10–11: “And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, ‘Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?’ Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.”

January 30th, 2023 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Exodus 17 and Numbers 20 record two occasions where the Israelites were upset with Moses at being in a desert with no water; interestingly, there are decades separating these two occasions. The first time (Exodus) God told Moses to take his staff and strike a rock, and water came out of it. The second time God told Moses to take Aaron’s rod, which had budded with almonds as a clear message of Aaron’s God-given leadership, and do something quite different. God told him to “speak to the rock.”

God gave Moses specific instructions because He was setting up an important prophetic picture for generations to come. The first time the rock was smitten, but the second time the rock was supposed to be asked. In the New Testament, Jesus is the rock that was smitten for our sins; and we understand today that if we are thirsty for salvation, we have only to speak to the rock.

However, Moses was having a bad day. He’d been with these grumbling people for a long time. He lost his temper and instead of speaking to the rock, he hit it, saying, “Must we bring water for you?” God could have asked, “Wait Moses; who’s bringing the water out of the rock? And why are you angry when I am not?” Have you ever heard a preacher beating the sheep? That’s what Moses was doing here by railing on them. He wasn’t identifying with them; instead he was trying to stand above them, alongside God Almighty. Nevertheless, God was merciful and brought water from the rock again. But He was not pleased that His picture of Jesus, as the Rock, had been spoiled, and that Moses was taking credit for the miracle. To discipline him, God didn’t allow Moses to enter the Promised Land with the people.

However, even in this story of discipline, we see a picture of God’s abundant mercy, when 1400 years later, on the Mount of Transfiguration, in Matthew 17, God took Moses into the land. Jesus met with Peter, James, John, Elijah, and Moses on that Mount. It was God’s mercy that allowed Moses to finally be in the Promised Land, and it is that same mercy that will allow us to be in eternity with God, in the new heaven and new earth. Jesus, the Rock, was struck for us; and if we submit and ask, He will cleanse us from our sin, pouring out His mercy on us. Don’t forget to thank God for that mercy today.

“Thank you, LORD, for being the Rock that gives us life this day.”