Summary: Moses allowed his anger to lead him and as a result he forfeited leading the people to the promised land.
Avoiding Costly Mistakes at All Costs - Anger
Pastor Don Jones
West Glendale Baptist Church
The past week we began a series entitled "Avoiding Costly Mistakes at All Costs". We looked at the three ways of learning: formal education, the school of hard knocks, and others mistakes. We generally agreed that it was easier to learn from the mistakes of others.
Our scripture centered around Abram’s mistake of not waiting on God to fulfill His promise of a child heir. In his haste he chose plan agreed upon by him and Sarai. The result was a costly mistake that took its toll on four lives immediately, and countless others in history. Again we are going to learn from the mistake of another "man of God" who led the people of Israel out of Egypt. His name is Moses.
Cue slide - Deja Vu
We find the Israelites at the very point where sentence was passed thirty seven to thirty eight years before. The sentence of God was that the generation that rebelled would wander in the desert for forty years and most, with the exception of two we know of, would die there. Verse 1 reads,
In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.
I am sure that everyone in the assembly knew what sin was committed and why judgment had taken place. Yet we find this new generation repeating the doubt and sin of the previous.
As parents, we are reminded how much our attitudes and actions shape our children. I know I find myself repeating phrases and having the same attitudes of both my father and mother. I am thankful that for the most part they portrayed good qualities. Perhaps this would be the time to commit to change or continuance in your words and deeds.
Cue slide- The People’s Quarrel and Lack of Faith
I do know that this Israelite generation learned the previous generation’s mantra well. Verses 2-6 state,
Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD! Why did you bring the LORD’S community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”
Their words are an exact copy of their parents words found throughout the book of Exodus and Numbers. Again, we find the nation without water. It was a life threatening problem for both human and animal in the middle of the desert.
They should have remembered what occurred years before. They should have remembered the miracle of water from the rock. Unfortunately, like us, they quickly forgot about God’s provision and God’s miracles of the past. Instead, they looked at their own resources. They knew they would die in a matter of days and immediately they turned for the umpteenth time not to Moses, but on Moses. They gathered in opposition to Moses, God’s representative among them, and quarreled with him. I honestly couldn’t count the number of times they had done this exact same thing.
If you notice, finally, after much quarreling and I’m sure, murmuring, they addressed the root of the problem. How many other petty issues did they complain about in their self pitying mood, we don’t know, but I am sure it took them awhile to get to this point? Look at the word "and" in verse 5,
Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”
They finally got to the root of the problem. Simply put, among all the other complaints, there was no water. They should have known God would not allow them to perish for lack of water. Surely He would have annihilated all of them if He was going to for they started the journey, and continued the journey whining, complaining, and being faithless.
Cue slide - Seeking Guidance
Moses and Aaron I would imagine were fed up at this point. They left, and verse 6 says,
Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them.
Like so many times before Moses and Aaron sought a solution not from their resources but turned to the Lord for the answer. They did what they were supposed to do and turned to God for the answer. They went to God’s but there was something different this time.