Summary: This time they are complaining that there isn’t enough water for the people. This murmuring led to mutiny, so they came together against Moses and Aaron. They had finally come to the point where they took up arms against their leaders.
Moses’ Disobedience Keeps Him from Entering the Promised Land
We are only told about a few incidents that happened during the forty years Israel was in the wilderness.
What we do know makes me think that they were out of God’s will most of the time.
We can talk about Israel being God’s chosen people, but they didn’t amount to anything except when they were in God’s will.
It’s also true of you and me that we don’t amount to anything when we are out of the will of God.
When you and I are not functioning in the body of believers, exercising the gift He has given to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are as unnecessary as a fifth leg on a cow.
Actually we get in the way.
1 In the first month all the people of Israel arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.
Miriam was Moses’ sister, the one who launched the little grass boat that held the baby Moses into the Nile River.
She had stayed with Moses for all these years and now she’s dead and buried.
That’s all were told.
She must have been over 100 years old, for she was at least 15 years older than Moses.
They were at Kadesh, but it’s the second time they stayed there, because they had been there once before; 38 years earlier.
It had been 38 years of wandering, going nowhere.
2 There was no water for the people, so they came together against Moses and Aaron.
3 They argued with Moses and said, “We should have died in front of the Lord as our brothers did.
The story here opens up as usual, with Israel conducting its daily slandering session against both God and Moses, for Egypt was still in their hearts.
This time they are complaining that there isn’t enough water for the people.
This murmuring led to mutiny, so they came together against Moses and Aaron.
They had finally come to the point where they took up arms against their leaders.
They said, “We should have died in front of the Lord as our brothers did.
Instead of giving God thanks, as they ought to have done, for sparing them, they act as if they hate God’s mercy.
Of course they don’t really mean what they said.
They don’t really want to die.
None of us want to die.
Death is unnatural for us.
But they are complaining, whining again, and murmuring.
4 Why did you bring the Lord’s people into this desert? Are we and our animals to die here?
5 Why did you bring us from Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain, figs, grapevines, or pomegranates, and there’s no water to drink!”
They were angry that they were brought out of Egypt, and led through this wilderness that is without water.
They quarreled with Moses even though they knew it was the Lord’s doing; they believed they had a grievance against God even though it was the greatest favor that was ever done for any people.
They preferred slavery to liberty, bondage to the land of promise; and although their present need was for water only, they are willing to find fault, complaining that it was an unbearable hardship that they didn’t have grapevines and figs.
It was a shame that for almost forty years in the wilderness they had experienced God’s goodness to them, and the kindness and faithfulness of Moses and Aaron, and yet they complained that the hardships were too much.
You would think that now that Miriam was dead they would console Moses and Aaron for the death of their sister, but instead, they provoke God to leave them like sheep without any shepherd.
6 So Moses and Aaron left the people and went to the entrance of the Meeting Tent. There they bowed facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them.
Moses and Aaron didn’t reply to their complaints, but instead, they withdrew to the door of the tabernacle, and there they fell on their faces as they had done before and prayed for God’s will.
We are not told what they prayed, but they knew that God heard the murmurings of the people.
They humbly got face down on the ground where they made intersession for the people.
There they laid waiting for orders from the Lord.
The glory of the Lord appeared to them, and I believe they were awe struck.
7 The Lord said to Moses,
8 “Take your walking stick, and you and your brother Aaron should gather the people. Speak to that rock in front of them so that its water will flow from it. When you bring the water out from that rock, give it to the people and their animals.”