12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them." Numbers20:10-12
Yesterday we saw that Moses' first mistake was to take some of the credit that belonged to God for himself. One might want to excuse him: He's irritated with the people, it feels like he's "been there done that and got the t-shirt." He feels that it is up to him and Aaron to show these people a thing or two: "Listen, you rebels, must _we_ bring you water out of this rock?"
But the water wasn't his and he didn't put it in the rock!
Moses was presumptuous.
But the second part the mistook Moses made was that his actions demonstrated a lack of trust in God. When this scenario had taken place previously, Moses had struck a rock and water had flowed. This time, however, the instructions are different.
Moses' actions seem to say: "Hey Lord, I know how its done, I've done it before, I'm going with my experience on this one rather than Your instructions."
Jamie Buckingham wrote a book after retracing the steps of the Exodus with local shepherds who taught him the tricks of the wilderness. In the book he talks about water that gets locked into sandstone shelves/layers in the mountainside. If you know where to tap a rock it can be like popping a cork and water will flow from the rock.
So one can see Moses' mental cogs whirring: "Oh I know how you do this - just find a similar kind of rock and whack it." But God wanted to take Moses' faith to a new level - last time it took a measure of trust to whack the rock. This time speaking to the rock without whacking it would have required new trust.
Moses wasn't up to the challenge - he didn't trust God.
We should not be too critical - we keep wanting the "good old days" when God wants to move us into new pastures. Will you trust Him to do something new?
We'll break for the school holidays and finish the series on Moses off in term 3.