Summary: We can know and do God’s will in spite of many things that try to hinder us.
Iliff and Saltillo UM churches
September 22, 2002
“Fulfilling Your Destiny”
INTRODUCTION: Will you fulfill the destiny God has for your life? Perhaps you have never thought about it. God had a perfect plan for Moses to lead the people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, but he stopped just short of reaching the completion of his God-given destiny. It was in the 40th year, and they were almost there. After wandering in a maze for all these years, they were right back where they started from Back to Square One. They had come full circle. They were trying to get back on track, but these people had always been rebellious, complaining people throughout the entire experience. Moses hoped that they were ready for a fresh start. The Promised Land was just before them. Would they get there? When the next test came, they were as rebellious as ever. Nothing had changed. The problem they faced was almost identical to that of 40 years earlier when they had run out of water. (See Exodus 17:1-7 at Rephadim)
In spite of their complaining, God was always merciful and faithful to provide for their needs. The Lord knew how to take care of His people in spite of the fact that they were in one desperate situation after another. In fact, they were in an inhospitable environment at the time that God entered into the covenant with them. The Lord shielded them with His protection--the cloud and the pillar of fire--He never once left them without His help throughout all these years of wandering and rebellion. Moses and Aaron were usually very quick to obey the leading of the Lord, but this instance shows that they had failings just like we do.
There are several things we can apply to our own lives from this Old Testament account:
1. How Did Moses Mess Up?: The people were once again complaining that they didn’t have any water to drink. It was almost identical to the same problem forty years earlier when God told Moses to take the rod, the symbol of his power through the Lord, and STRIKE the rock. The water gushed out for the complaining and irate people. They knew there was no reasoning with these people. This time, although Moses and Aaron had gone to the tabernacle to seek the Lord about the situation, God was calling Moses to a different direction. Moses was to use his words to speak the miracle. God’s answer was there. He said SPEAK to that rock before their eyes, and it will pour out its water” (Numbers 20:8).
Most and Aaron got part of it right. They went out before the people and spoke to them, but then in frustration and anger Moses took the rod and struck the rock not once but twice. He didn’t wait to see if the water would come out after he struck it one time. He struck it two times out of a provoked spirit. He was fed up with these people.
Maybe there were several reasons for this. Maybe he thought that since this was almost an exact repeat of past history that this would be the beginning of another 40 years of wandering around.
Maybe he felt he couldn’t handle more years of wandering.
Maybe he was just warn out from the entire ordeal with these people. They were always complaining about something.
Maybe he was grieving because his sister, Miriam, had recently died.
Whatever the root cause of it was or if it was just an accumulation of all these things, Moses lashed out at the people and said, “You rebels. Must WE bring you water out of this rock?”
STORY: A young man was learning to be a paratrooper. Before his first jump, he was given these instructions:
Jump when you are told. Count to ten and pull the rip cord. In the unlikely event your parachute doesn’t open, pull the emergency rip cord. When you get down, a truck will be there to take you back to the airport.
The young man memorized these instructions and climbed aboard the plane. The plane climbed to ten thousand feet and the paratroopers began to jump. When the young man was told to jump, he jumped. He then counted to ten and pulled the rip cord. Nothing happened. His chute failed to open. So he pulled the emergency rip cord. Still, nothing happened. No parachute.
"Oh great," said the young man. "And I suppose the truck won’t be there when I get down either!"
Edited from More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice. Copyright 1995 by Youth Specialties, Inc.
Moses had troubles all right. He was fed up with their complaining. He failed to realize that God had the answer already worked out, but he began to take matters into his own hands and began to act on his own.