The breaking of Moses, part one

As most people familiar with the story of Moses know, there’s a bit of sadness to how his life ends up. He doesn’t get to enter into the promised land because he breaks a command of the Lord. It all plays out in Numbers chapter 20, where once again the people of Israel are whining and complaining. This time they want water, and since there wasn’t any they decide to do what they all too often do, blame Moses and Aaron. They wish for death, complain that he ever lead them out of slavery, so on and so forth.

Instead of attacking them with his staff (as I think most people would’ve done well before this), Moses along with Aaron seeks out the Lord to get help in the situation. Here’s what God says to do.

Numbers 20:7-8 and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”

Moses grabs the staff, gathers the people, but he doesn’t handle things like the Lord told him to. It seems that Moses has finally reached the end of his rope, he’s fed up with these people. So here’s what he does.

Numbers 20:10-11 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice,and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.

For not handling it the way He told him to, God tells Moses he’ll not get to enter into the promised land. I’ll be honest, when I was first reading this I felt like the punishment was really harsh. Moses has dealt with these people’s constant rebellion and complaining and paper thin faith for decades, and the one time he loses his temper he gets punished in severe fashion. But the more I studied, the more I started to understand. Here’s God’s explanation.

Numbers 20:12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”

Looking at what Moses did, you see that he handled the situation in a way that gave himself the glory. He made it an angry display of his own power instead of a calm display of God’s power. They probably thanked Moses for the water, not God. There’s a very serious lesson there. Glory belongs to God, and the Bible makes it clear that you don’t do well when you try to claim His glory for yourself. It’s funny, because I wasn’t even really planning on taking this blog in this direction today, but before I started writing I was in prayer and I told God that all of my goodness comes from Him. Without God, what are we really? Selfish, sinful, self serving, fickle, weak. My goodness comes from Him. My compassion, my talent, my humor, it’s God given. My very life is God given. He gave me this day to live, and so who am I to seek glory for anything I do today? If anything I do today deserves glory, it’s glory that belongs to my heavenly Father.

I think this is a hard concept for some people to accept. We all want to believe that at our core we’re good people. Surely I deserve some glory, right? If you ever think that, Jesus gave us a pretty fail safe way to handle it.

John 8:54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’

Any glory I may earn will come from one place, and that’s God. We don’t work on this earth for glory, we work on this earth to do the will of God and to bring glory to God. We work on this earth to share the love of Jesus with as many people as we possibly can. If I’m ever deserving of any glory, let it be bestowed upon me in the next life with God. That’s the only glory or praise that really means anything, anyways. What’s the praise and glory of a man next to that? It’s nothing. To be honest with you, there’s really one thing that defines my motivations in life these days. It’s this simple sentence. Well done, my good and faithful servant. If that sentence doesn’t mean much to you, I’d ask you to follow THIS LINK and read Jesus’ parable of the talents in verses 14 – 30.


Father God, there are two things on my heart today.  First, I pray that you help us keep our anger in check.  There’s only one person I can directly control in every situation, and that’s me.  Just like Moses did, we sometimes have to interact with people who push our buttons.  Maybe it’s co-workers or family or friends or drivers or strangers in a store, but we’re always going to be in contact with people who will get under our skin.  My prayer today is that you give us wisdom and self control, help us not to lash out, to react in anger or frustration, but to remain great representatives of you even under stress and duress.  Help us show grace and peace and love, even to those who we may feel like screaming at.  The other thing I want to ask today is that you get all the glory in my life.  You know me, God, you know me better than anyone.  You made me!  You know who I am without you, you know that my goodness and my worth and value, it’s all you.  You are the life in me, the joy in me, and right now I just give you all the glory.  You are my healing, my ongoing healing that I’m experiencing in my life, you are my great provider, the arranger of this amazing support system that is keeping me going during tough times.  Praise your name, Lord, glory be to you today and tomorrow and always.  Thank you for the way you work through your people, thank you for using me to write this blog, for using me to play in the worship team and bring to life music that praises you.  Every step is to glorify you, Lord, every success, every good thing, I just want to bring it back to you because that is where it belongs.  You love me in a way that I’ll never understand.  I wish my mind was larger, my understanding more supernatural, because I want to love you back the way you love me.  Keep your flame burning in me, God, empower and embolden me to do great work for you during my time alive.  I just want to glorify you, because you are deserving.  Thank you for your love and mercy and guidance and goodness.  Thank you for being who and what you are.  I pray all these things in the precious name of Jesus, amen.

Sometimes I write almost as much in the prayer as I do in the blog, but I just can’t help it.  My heart just sort of pours out when I go directly to my Lord, so I hope you guys never mind the length of the prayer portions.  I love all of you, and I hope the week is treating everyone well so far.  We’re entering into the final three blogs in the Moses Moments series and I’m really excited about what the end of his life reveals.  Also, it’ll be nice to shake it up a little and move on to new subjects!

God loves each and every one of you!  Exist within that truth this week, it will bring you a deep comfort if you let it.


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