About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Bible teachers suggest that this chapter is in the fortieth year of Israel
's wondering in the desert. The
days of wandering are pretty well over. Therefore,
those who are complaining in this chapter might well have been born in
the desert, and not the original Israeli's that left Egypt. You will remember that God
told that generation that they would not enter the
verse 1 we see that Miriam died. Miriam
was the sister of Moses and Aaron.
cycle of complaining continues with Israel
in verses 2 and 3. The
people complain to Moses because they had no water to drink.
They said to Moses that they might well have been better of if
they were killed "when
their brothers fell dead before the Lord".
This is the event found in Numbers 16 when 14,700 people died
from a plague that God had put in
verse 4 Israel
asks Moses why he brought "the Lord's community" into the
desert to die. This is the
first time that
we complain, as we've seen before, we are actually demonstrating a lack
of trust in the Lord. We're
not content in the place He has put us.
As we have also seen before, God views this complaining as
rejection of Him. Much of the things we complain about are a product of
our own doing. If you
feel the need to complain, you should
be complaining to yourself, not to God or anyone else.
verses 6 through 8 Moses and Aaron fall on their faces before the Lord
again, as they have done countless times.
I've said this a number of times, but the main ministry that
Moses had concerning being leader of Israel
was the ministry of intercession. Much
of his time was spent in prayer, on his face, pleading with God to
intervene into the affairs of a rebellious people.
I'd suggest that church leaders today should have the same
ministry. The church is not
that much different than Israel
of old. We certainly could
use many more Moses' in the
had compassion on these people again.
This has always been the cycle.
God promises something. God
says to Israel, "obey me'. Israel
does not obey. They
complain. God gets angry and
judges them. Then He turns
around and shows love to them, and then, the cycle begins again.
God was nice to Israel
again here by having water come out of a rock when Moses struck the rock
with his staff. Another
miracle to a selfish complaining people.
9 through 11 explains how Moses struck the rock and water gushed out of
it for all to drink.
12 needs some consideration. God
was not happy with Moses and Aaron.
He was so upset with them that He told them that they would not
might ask, "why was God upset with Moses and Aaron"?
They appeared to do as God asked, but that is not exactly so.
God told Moses to "speak" to the rock and water would
come out of the rock. What
did Moses do? He hit the
rock twice with the staff. We
might wonder what the big deal is. The
point is simple. God is God.
He specifically said, speak, and Moses struck.
Many Bible scholars feel that Moses was very upset, and that is
partly why he hit the rock.
might well be another point to consider.
In Exodus 18 God had Moses strike a rock and water came from the
rock. Moses might have had
this in the back of his mind and striking the rock might have been a
subconscious thing. Many people feel that God was really harsh on Moses,
and that He was. This leaves
me with the feeling that we
can do nothing but fall on our faces before the Lord and ask for mercy.
tells us why He was upset with Moses in verse 12.
He said that Moses had a lack of trust, and he did not honour God
before Israel. However, and whatever,
Moses did what was done from a lack of trust and honour, at least in the
eyes of God. For this, God
ended the ministry of Moses.
question then is asked, "what did Moses do that demonstrated this
lack of trust and honour"? Trust
and honour are matters of the heart and we don't see the feelings and
motivation of Moses' heart very clearly here.
By striking the rock, when he was to speak to it, he might have
been both upset with God and
think the thing that God had trouble with here was Moses' attitude that
could see. If Moses had been
frustrated with God and came to Him privately, then God might not have
been so upset with him, but since Moses showed his feelings to God's
people, he was not properly representing God to Israel. This is somewhat
speculative because the text is not really clear on this.
24 of this chapter gives some more information on why God was unhappy
with Moses and Aaron He
tells Aaron that he will die and not enter
is heavy stuff. If leaders
of God's people don't obey God as he actually states, and if they don't
properly represent Him, God will take the ministry away from the leader.
I believe he does the same today.
I think we have many church leaders today that are leaders, but
leaders in the eyes of men only. God
has taken their ministry away, but they are still acting and working as
if they had God's ministry.
this event shows us the frailty of man.
We are at God's mercy.
church leaders today lean on their own abilities, and not God's ability,
these leaders are not honouring God before the people of God as they
in verse 14 we see Moses calling themselves a brother to the Edomites.
This is true. The
children of Israel
are the descendents of Jacob. The
Edomites are the descendents of Jacob's brother Esau.
verses 14 and 15 Moses reminds the king of
verses 16 and 17 Moses requests permission to pass through the territory
of Edom. He guaranteed the king
would stay on the king's highway. They
would not eat or drink anything belonging to
verse 18 we see that
verse 19 Moses repeated his request and in verse 20 the king of Edom
denied their request again. This
section ends in verse 20 with
Death Of Aaron (ch. 20:21 - 29)
verses 22 to 26 God tells Moses that Aaron will not enter the promise
land since both he and Moses rebelled against Him.
We noted in the last section that God was unhappy with Moses and
Aaron showed a lack of trust and honour when Moses struck the rock.
Here we learn that God also viewed that as rebellion.
Moses already knew he would not enter
verse 26 God tells Moses to have Aarons clothes removed and given to his
son Eleazar. Eleazar would
now take Aaron's place in the priesthood.
The passing down of the clothes suggests the passing down of the
mantel of the Lord, the ministry God gave Aaron, from one generation to
passing of ministries and our faith from one generation to the next is
always a hard thing to do for various reasons.
A father and mother can have a strong faith in the Lord Jesus,
while their children seem to be weak in faith or have no faith at all.
That being said, it is God's desire that what we as parents
receive from Him be passed down to the next generation.
This is why we see God over and over again asking
phrase "gathered to his people" is used twice in verses 22 to
26. This is a Jewish idiom
that portrays death. When
Jewish people died, the Jews understood that the one who died would be
reunited with family who had already passed on.
verse 27 to verse 29 we see Moses doing just as God commanded.
Moses, Aaron, and Eleazar went up the mountain.
Aaron gave his clothes to his son Eleazar, and then he died.
Just like that. It's
stories like this that make the liberal Bible teacher skeptical.
But, if God is God, He can certainly do what ever He wants.
29 tells us that Israel
mourned for thirty days because of the death of Aaron.
This is a bit ironic due to the fact that so many times over the
years they were in opposition to him.
It shows you how fickle they were, but we're not all that
different today. Humanity is
the same wherever you go. There
is no difference between the Jew or the Gentile.
We are al human, and we are all sinners in need of a Saviour.