thoughts from 11.19.06

as i was driving home tonight i was just replaying the evening.  it is so good to see everyone each week…and to connect on a deeper level.  each week we take one more step together and that is a really cool thing.

tonight i really stressed one point during the teaching.  i asked everyone to bold, highlight, underline, and put exclamation points behind a statement.  but before we re-analyze that statement…let’s get a little context again.

in another supernatural moment…that only God could originate…God tells Moses to command water come out of a rock so the Israelites (who had been in the Sinai Desert for 38 years in their search for the Promised Land of Canaan) could have something to drink.  Moses approaches the rock…yells at the Israelite “rebels” who were ready to lynch him…and then ferociously strikes the rock twice with his staff before it pours forth gushing waters.

in what seems like one of the most trivial and sensitive moments in Bible history…God tells Moses that he will not lead the Israelites into the Promise Land because he did not honor God when striking the rock.  what is the deal with God here?  isn’t God being a little too sensitive?  Moses has been through some really tough stuff over the last 38 years in the desert while being faithful to God.  he has dealt with both internal and external forces that the average person could not have dealt with…and yet he remained God’s main man.  why is God freaking out here and not allowing his main man to lead the people the rest of the way?

it would be easy to throw a couple of easy explanations that we can get out of the text.  maybe it was because Moses hit the rock rather than spoke to it?  maybe it was because moses was angry when he did it?  maybe it was because Moses…down deep…wanted the credit for the whole thing?  i think it is so much deeper than any of those.  this is the part that we need to highlight and remember:

from God’s perspective….THE FUTURE WAS AT STAKE.  here is some context to help understand that statment.  for the first time in history…God was going directly to a group of people and asking them to be His people.  God went to the Israelites and asked them to be His chosen people…through which the generations would come to know Him…through which the generations would know how to relate to Him…and through which the generations would come to know and understand the characteristics of Him.  we can read about the covenant that God initiated with the Israelites in Exodus 19.  FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE…NOT ONE PERSON COULD GET IN THE WAY OF WHAT HE WAS GOING TO DO THROUGH THE ISRAELITES…NOT EVEN IF IT WAS MOSES!  by Moses telling the Israelites that he was going to perform the miracle…there was the propensity for the Israelites to begin worshiping Moses and to turn away from God.  “well you know…moses did make water come from a rock…seems like i have seen him do other miracles before…maybe we just need to worship him?”  you can see how this would go.  we know from reading the early books of the Bible…that the Israelites were easily distracted and oftentimes would forget who they really worship…are we worshiping idols this week…how about a golden calf?  God could not tolerate anyone or anything…who just wanted a moment of vainglory…to mislead His chosen people…through which restoration and redemption would eventually come.

what kind of message do you think this sent to the Israelites?  i think it had to be profound.  it had to send a message to the Israelites that God is not kidding about how desperately He wants to be their God…and how desperately He wants them to be His people.  it is almost like the coach benching the star basketball player during the championship game.  you know at that point…it is all about principle…and it sends a profound message…IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU MOSES…it is about My glory and my plan for restoring mankind back to Me.

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