Christianity -- Christian Living/Exodus 20: 1-13


Hi Pastor Don:  Great job helping me with my last question.  Here is a question that I have wondered about for a while...
Why did God get so upset at Moses as to take away his opportunity to enter into the Promised Land?  For the offense, I think it is quite a severe punishment.  
Moses had so much to deal with, with the Israelites.  They were CONTINUALLY so stubborn, complaining towards God, His words and His works.  Critical towards Moses.   Moses had obviously reached his emotional/mental limit with the Israelites.  To me, it seems that God was quick to anger and not long suffering and not understanding of Moses feelings after such a long, difficult, hard, uphill battle/journey.  Moses was in the thick of life from the time God told him to go back to Egypt, through the plagues and through the wilderness with all those stubborn Israelites.  It was really hard for Moses' faith to be stretched so far (and he had to do it without the bible and without a Godly therapist).  What I am looking for is an answer outside of the normal answer I have heard over the years, that God punished Moses for his anger/disobedience for striking twice instead of speaking.  That I just seems that God got over angry and the punishment was too severe for the offense.  This part of scripture frightens me a bit.  God has always been so understanding with me, hard and tough but understanding.   I have been very angry with God before because I was hurting so so so desperately in a situation He put me in.   And there was no way out of that situation unless I processed through my anger towards God and came to His understanding.  Why couldn't God guide Moses through his anger/rebellion?  Maybe that is it ... rebellion.  So anyway ... what do you think??  I hope you are having a very good day.  I am very very thankful that you are here on AllExperts.  God bless you.. thank you for helping on my last questions.  Great job. Cathy

Hi Cathy,

Thanks for this question.  It would seem to me that you are thinking of Numbers 20 and when Moses hit the rock.  I have preached a message on that illustrating just what he did to make God so mad.  I will post the notes below.



  It has been said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  May I suggest that the pathway to a miserable Christian life is paved with good intentions as well?  Often we find ourselves facing adversity and opposition, but instead of doing exactly what God's word commands us, we come up with a better plan.  Consequently, we end up elevating our will over God's; and instead of allowing God's glory to shine through our adversity, all the spectators get to see is our flesh.

  This is the tragic case we have before us in our text.  Moses, a great man of God, has spent many years with a difficult bunch of people.  On this particular occasion, God wanted to display His love, mercy, and even a foreshadowing of the Messiah, but Moses' flesh got in the way.  He wanted to straighten out these rebellious Israelites.  We will see from our passage that with it comes to exposing and correcting fallen man, God can handle it better than you can.

I.   The servant of God often faces intense pressure

A.   Of a personal and emotional nature

Numbers 20:1 - Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.

1.   Long term disappointments Moses had to live out those forty years while everyone over 20 that rejected the opportunity to go into the Promised Land had died.
2.   Personal loss Miriam
3.   Financial loss Moses lost more than anyone when he left Egypt the first time

B.   Rebellious people will put pressure on the servant of God

Numbers 20:2-3 - 2 And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!

1.   They gathered against Moses
2.   They sided with Korah, even though he was dead!

Numbers 16:3-5 - 3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?  4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face: 5 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.

1 Samuel 15:23 - For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

C.   Carnal people will increase pressure on the servant of God

Numbers 20:4-5 - 4 And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? 5 And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.

1.   They assume that God's servant is acting on his own

James 4:1,5 - From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?  5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

2.   They long for the things of the world
3.   The despise freedom from the slavery of the world

D.   The only escape from that pressure is found in the presence of God

Numbers 20:6 - And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.

Philippians 4:6-7 - 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

E.   In spite of that pressure, the servant of God must minister to those sheep under his care.

1 Corinthians 3:1-3
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
II.   The servant of God is responsible to carry out His specific commands

A.   He is a steward of God's revelation

Numbers 20:7 - And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

B.   God gave specific direction

Numbers 20:8 - Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.

1.   Gather the assembly together
2.   Speak to the rock
3.   Do this in their sight
4.   Water will come out of the rock
5.   All who are thirsty may drink

C.   God had a specific reason for this commandment

1.   Something He wanted all to see His mercy and unconditional love

Romans 2:4 - Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

2.   God wanted to be sanctified, or treated as holy and worshipped

3.   This was to be an holy picture of the coming Messiah

1 Corinthians 10:2-4 - 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

John 4:13-14 - 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Revelation 22:17 - And the Spirit and the bride say,Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

III.   The servant of God must not usurp God's authority by modifying His commandments

A.   Moses got in the flesh

Numbers 20:9-11 - 9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

1.   Called them names
2.   Claimed credit for the water- This was the grievous sin!  In Moses' fleshly outburst, he allowed his carnality to be seen instead of the intended picture of Jesus.

  a.   The water offered to the thirsty
b.   The water offered unconditionally
c.   The water offered to the unworthy

3.   Moses hit the rock an added step

B.   God deals severely with those who overstep their place

John 1:20 - And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

Numbers 20:12-13 - 12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. 13 This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.

1.   God called this fleshly outburst unbelief
2.   The crime was not putting God on display

a.   His mercy
b.   His love
c.   His provision
d.   His coming Messiah

3.   Moses would not see the ultimate victory


I hope that helps you.

In Christ
Pastor Don

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Pastor Don Carpenter


I believe that every word of the Bible is God-Breathed. This blessed book is the foundation of truth for faith and practice. If you ask this volunteer a question you will receive an answer from the Bible that is based upon a litteral, normal interpretation, taking into account the grammar and culture of the time.


I have been in the ministry for almost 20 years. I have been a Senior Pastor more than 4 years. My gifts abound in the counseling ministry as well as equipping believers to express their faith.

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BS in Bible from Baptist Bible College.

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