Summary: Introductory Comments 1.
1. It must have been one of the saddest days in the life of Moses. He had been appointed by God to rescue the people of Israel out of Egypt and bring them to the promised land. He had spent a long 40 years leading them through the desert. He had gone up the holy mountain where God gave him the covenant, including the 10 commandments. He had, for the most part been a commendable and faithful leader. He had just put up with the complaints of the rebellious people one more time.
2. And now God spoke those few words to him that must have hurt him deeply. "You will not bring this community into the land I give them."
3. Wow! After all he did, God would take away his leadership before the work was finished. He did all the work to bring them here and now another would bring them into the promised land. It did not seem fair. He would not see or taste the fruits of his labour.
4. Today we consider why Moses was punished so severely by God. And as we do, we see that his sin is also our sin. It is a sin that may lie hidden so deep within us that we do not know it is there. It is a sin that has plagued this congregation over the years and still plagues us today.
5. It is a sin which prevents us from experiencing the joy of salvation, of crossing the Jordan and living in the promised land while still on earth. For Moses would enter into the promised land of heaven, but he would not experience the joy of these promises here on earth. This sin, because of the blood of Christ, may not prevent us from entering heaven, but we will not experience the taste of heaven, the joy and peace of salvation here on earth. It can even make life feel like hell at times.
6. Today we look at the deadly sin of anger and believe me, it is a deadly sin. If there is a sin that many of us need to repent of, that FRC needs to repent of, it is the sin of anger.
7. Have you ever been angry at someone? Are you angry at anyone today? If you are like me you may be slow to confess your anger. But our words, the tone of our voices, the things we do so easily betrays us and exposes this sin.
8. For the sake of Christ, for the sake of His church, for your own sake, we must see our anger, what it does, and its consequences.
1. As said, we may not even see anger in our actions. We may even question if our passage has anything to do with anger. It is clear that Moses sinned - otherwise why would God punish him. But God says his sin is in "not trusting me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites." Moses was told to speak to the rock and it would pour forth water. Instead he struck it twice with his staff. I believe that Moses did this because he was angry. In passages like Ex. 16:20; 32:19, Leviticus 10:16 and Num. 16:22 we read that Moses was angry with the people. And he shows his anger with the people just before he strikes the rock. "Listen, you rebels, must we bring water out of this rock." As my NIV note says, "at once, the accumulated anger, exasperation, and frustration of 40 years came to expression".
a. Psa 106:32-33 "By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them; for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses' lips."
b. Anger leads to rash words. And just as we do not find the word anger in our passage anger it is there for sure. And so we may not always see the anger but it may certainly be affecting us.
2. To understand what anger is, I find it interesting to see the meaning of various word in the OT that are translated as anger or wrath. As we listen to these meanings, i ask you if they might describe you and reveal the anger in you. Theses meanings include - to snort, to be hot or passionate, to burn or glow, to curse or scold, to storm. To rage, to overflow or break out, to be annoyed, to be disturbed or unsettled. When we feel this way there may very well be anger in us.
3. Even if we admit our anger, we find it so easy to justify our anger and the actions that it leads us to . Was Moses not justified in being angry? After all, God Himself was angry with the people. Why is it wrong for us to be angry when God is also angry? Sometimes our anger is justified but usually it is not. Of all the times that anger is mentioned in the NT, only twice is it seen as positive or acceptable.