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Moses disobeys Jehovah’s command

Scripture: Numbers 20:1-29; Deuteronomy 34:5-7

Aim: To remind the pupil that disobedience to the commands of the Lord will nullify the Lord’s blessings and bring judgment upon a guilty person.

Golden Text: “So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He (Jehovah) buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day” (Deut. 34:5-7).

This lesson ought to cause each Christian to carefully access his or her life as to their position in the will of God, and their faithfulness to that will. It is possible for a person to be highly and richly blessed by the Lord in his life and service; yet, end up under the displeasure and judgment of their Savior and God. Moses affords us an excellent example in this lesson.

Ten times the Israelites had murmured against God, Moses and Aaron (last week’s lesson). Moses’ sister, Miriam, on one occasion became critical and rebellious against the authority of Moses (after all she was an older sister!). The Lord sent leprosy upon her, and Moses healed her.

Aaron rebelled at the same time and for the same reason. Jehovah promised Aaron that he would die in the wilderness along with Miriam and all the Israelite men 20 to 50 years old (Caleb and Joshua were excepted because of faithfulness to God).

I. The Israelites rebel and murmur against Jehovah, Moses, and Aaron (Numbers 20:1-5). These people had watched many die in the wilderness because of disobedience and complaining. They were nearly at the land of promise. The journey was almost over; however, they came to a place where they had no water for themselves or their animals (vs. 1). Miriam died here (vs. 1).

The people gathered against Moses and Aaron in anger with a mean attitude (vs. 3). They charged Moses of bringing them up to die in the wilderness (same old complaint! vs. 3-4). They had a lack of a variety of foods and no water (vs. 2, 5). They had “blood in the eye!”

II. Moses and Aaron went to the tabernacle to meet with Jehovah (Numbers 20:6). Moses and Aaron did the proper thing. When there is trouble, ask the Lord about it first. He has the proper and blessed answer for those who will seek Him first.

They fell on their faces and the Lord appeared in glory to instruct them in a solution for the dilemma (vs. 6).

III. The Lord’s instruction is given (Numbers 20:8-11). Moses is instructed to speak to the flinty rock, which had been following them in their journeys, the rock from which water had been given earlier in their journeys..

Moses became angry.

“Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” (vs. 10).

First, it was not Moses’ job to get water out of the rock. That was Jehovah’s job. If Jehovah were not at work, Moses could still be speaking to the rock and still have no water.

Second, it was Moses’ responsibility to glorify God before Israel in the matter of provision for the people. Moses disobeyed Jehovah by hitting the rock twice in his anger. Ooops! Moses just “messed up”! He hit the rock instead of speaking to it. It is very important for God’s people to be careful to be obedient to the commands of God. Each of us will answer to Him, as did Moses and Aaron.

IV. The Lord was dishonored before Israel. Moses and Aaron were brought into judgment for their sin (Numbers 20:13). Both were to die without entering the Land of Promise (vs. 12). In the end of this chapter, Aaron died (vs. 23-29). Moses died some weeks later on Mount Nebo in the land of Gilead, and Jehovah buried him (Golden Text).

Faithful obedience brings God’s blessings to the child of God, and causes others to glorify God. Unfaithfulness is a bad testimony, which causes others to dishonor God! Let us be faithful.