Who’s Bringing the Water?

[Moses] and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?”
Numbers 20:10, NIV*

When God called him to lead the Israelites to freedom, Moses was a man deeply aware of his own inadequacy for the task. God gave him power to do miraculous signs, and promised to be with him, but he still resisted.

Fast-forward to the Desert of Zin. Moses has led the people out of Egypt, they’ve balked at entering the Promised Land and so God has sentenced them to roam the wilderness until the faithless generation has died. Moses and Aaron’s sister Miriam has died. The people—surprise!—are complaining because there’s no water.

Never mind the fact that God has provided water before now.

Moses has relied on God’s power every step of the way. He has stood between God and the people when God was angry with them, but this time it’s Moses who’s angry, and he loses it. One frustration-laden sentence, one whack of staff against stone, and Moses forfeits his own entrance into the Promised Land.

God said it was “Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites.” (Numbers 20:12, NIV*)

It looks like such a little slip to me, but God has the full picture and is the righteous judge. One thing I see here is “must we” bring the water? It’s God who supplied the power and the water, but Moses is taking on the responsibility, the burden—the credit—for the miracle.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “seek God first” and from that perspective I see an application to my own life. When there’s a need or a demand, the natural human instinct is to meet it in my own strength and from my own resources.

God wants me to look to Him first, and to respond out of His equipping… His strength, His wisdom, His resources. If I try to do it on my own, I’m getting in the way like Moses did. And I get the whole “Moses burnout complex and attitude” if I’m not careful. Not pretty.

Creator and Sustainer God, You never meant us to rely on ourselves, but we do. You said to trust in You with all our hearts, and not to rely on our own understanding. Forgive me for taking on more than You intended, and teach me to seek You first in everything. Help me trust You enough to honour You as holy in the sight of those around me. Help me rely on Your provision instead of trying to manufacture enough resources on my own.

Here’s a light-hearted look at Moses’ mission: Larry Norman’sMoses in the Wilderness” set to flannelgraph images. Love it!

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

6 thoughts on “Who’s Bringing the Water?

  1. jancoxabetterway

    This is so true, Janet. Getting ahead of the vision that God has for us. Pushing on in our own strength and ideas – instead of really listening to Him.
    Oswald Chambers said the same thing today. We don’t wait, do we?
    We are impatient.
    Thanks for this post.

    1. janetsketchley

      You know what the scary thing is, Jan? I read that daily entry from My Utmost for His Highest, and I focused on the vision part and missed the getting ahead on our own. Thanks for sending me back to read it again! Guess I got sidetracked because I don’t really have a sense of vision. But God does, and He’s working. Thanks for the nudge!

  2. Stephanie

    Janet, I just love the Larry Norman piece you included. I think we may have lost something in the high tech age. I’d gladly sit through a Sunday School lesson like that one. (grin)

    1. janetsketchley

      I don’t ever remember flannel-graph stories being this much fun, Stephanie, but they were indeed good times. I remember paying attention and being good… because there was always the hope that if a kid was well-enough behaved, s/he might be allowed to move a sheep or something as the story unfolded.

  3. Stephanie

    Oh, my! I just read this…and boy, do I see myself…and not in a good light either. I love to do many different things at the same time. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I must, must, must remember to seek God first at all times, in all situations. I should never rely on my own “wisdom” or ability to provide. Thank you for this reminder, my friend.


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