Peace reigns as the congregation moves onward to Kadesh in Chapter 20.
But when they discover that there is absolutely no water at Kadesh, the people revolt – again! – verbally abusing Moses and Aaron, who in turn do exactly what you and I must do when confronted by opposition: run to the special place where God speaks to you, fall on your face (perhaps literally!), and listen to what God says.
If you truly know that God speaks to you personally, pay very close attention to what follows.
God commands Moses to grab his famous flowering rod, gather the congregation, and verbally command the rocks to open up with precious water. Moses obeys the command up to the point of assembling all Israel and lifting the rod as he did to part the Red Sea. He then whacks the rocks twice to make the water come pouring forth, which it did to the great relief of all.
Has God ever told you in prayer to do something, but then you did it your way instead of the way he commanded?
God tells Moses and Aaron that by striking the rocks rather than verbally commanding the water to burst forth, both of them failed to believe God. Then, a sudden judgment with no warning, a notable departure from the Cycle: the sons of Israel, despite their recurring and treacherous lack of faith, will be delivered to the Promised Land, but Moses and Aaron will not, because of their unbelief!
So the rebellious common people are blessed with fresh water while the leaders are condemned to early death before achievement of their goals.
Do you identify with Moses and Aaron? Are you a parishioner or a priest? Do you wield your rod and whack the rocks?
If you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, this should matter a great deal to you? Why?
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10, NASB).
Because of Jesus, you and I are today's Moses and Aaron. Please read 1 Peter Chapters 1 and 2 right now and be blessed. Also be challenged – might Jesus judge his royal priesthood for not believing in perfect unity?