In chapter twenty of the book of Numbers in the Old Testament of the bible there is recorded a story about the children of Israel. It seems they were dissatisfied with their leaders, namely Moses and his brother Aaron. Their complaint included their dissatisfaction with their present location. As they described their whereabouts, they raised the fact that Moses had led them out of Egypt, where they had food to eat and water to drink for themselves as well as their livestock. Now they did not have those precious items. The more they contended with Moses and Aaron about their situation the more hurtful their insinuations became. They even wished they had died along with their brethren during the plague before leaving Egypt.
So Moses and Aaron fall on their faces before God in the Tent of Meetings to find out what to do next. As the story goes, the Glory of the Lord came upon them instructing Moses to take his rod and go before the assembly to a particular Rock. They are instructed to “speak” to the Rock to give forth its water. This was to be done in the presence of the congregation.
Due to the anger kindled by Moses after hearing the contention of the congregation of Israel, Moses choses to strike the Rock rather than speaking to it. My reflection today is centered around God’s response to man’s anger. The apostle Paul reiterated in I Corinthians chapter ten that all of Israel were under the cloud and passed through the sea. They all ate the same spiritual meat and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock and that Rock was Christ.
What I hold up for the reader to consider pertains to the response of God in spite of the anger of Moses. According to the story Moses was instructed to speak to the Rock and out of this Rock would flow water enough to satisfy the thirst of the entire Israelite congregation including their livestock. Sometimes our anger can get the best of us. I’m not saying that anger is a bad thing. The scriptures indicate to be angry and sin not. So Moses takes his rod and strikes the Rock twice. In spite of his disobedience, water flows out of the Rock.
What does this mean? Good question. Here are a few thoughts to ponder. God does not respond to mankind’s anger the way mankind responds to his or her own anger. Usually when someone makes us angry we have a tendency to reflect their anger back to them in retaliation. In spite of the anger of Moses, water flowed from the Rock showing God’s compassion rather than condemnation. If we take the apostle Paul’s comparison of the Rock being the Christ to heart, then it becomes clear when Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well that if she knew who it was that was asking her for a drink, she would have asked him and he would have given her living water. Or as it is recorded in John chapter seven and verse thirty-seven, Jesus stood and cried, saying If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink.
Finally, when Jesus had already died while being crucified, the Roman guard present there took a spear piercing the side of Jesus rather than breaking his legs. It is recorded that from his pierced side flowed a combination of blood and water. It is important to realize that God’s ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. God’s love for each of us surpasses our anger and the decisions we make as a result of it. God’s mercy and grace also surpass our anger in such a way that if we will venture to let our anger go while desiring to embrace God’s surpassing love, the water that flowed from the Rock of which you have been invited to drink, will indeed spring up from within you satisfying your spiritual thirst. I suppose there is only one way to find out if what I am suggesting is true…