Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: Return to Kadesh, part 2. Num 20:1-13; 1Co 10:1-13.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: Return to Kadesh, part 2. NUM 20:1-13; 1CO 10:1-13.



We have here a wilderness, a lot of people, water stores dwindling, and a promise from God. Much is the same as it was but it doesn't have to turn out the same. Even the name of the wilderness is similar. They last lacked water in the wilderness of Sin and now they're in the wilderness of Zin.


NUM 20:1 Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh. Now Miriam died there and was buried there.


NUM 20:2 And there was no water for the congregation; and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron.


NUM 20:3 The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, "If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord!


NUM 20:4 "Why then have you brought the Lord's assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here?


NUM 20:5 "And why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink."


People: Moses and Aaron have us in a wilderness - no PL.

Moses and Aaron: The people are stubborn - no PL.


To Moses and Aaron, such an unbelieving people, rebelling at the very outset, would never be allowed to enter the land.


Kadesh is not in the Promised Land and they know that. They have thrown in the towel and have tossed away their God given inheritance for a presumed and imagined life in the wilderness of Zin. They will be in the Promised Land in under a year's time and yet now they despair of it.


When examined, the foundation of despair and rebellion, both on the part of the people and of Moses and Aaron, were precisely the same. In both cases it was unbelief of God.


The people had looked upon Moses and not upon God as their leader into the land, and they had despaired. And ironically enough, Moses is assuredly one of the greatest leaders who ever lived, if not the greatest, yet they were still not to put their eyes upon him but upon God who promised.


Moses looked at the people as they were in themselves, instead of thinking of God Who now sent them forward, secure in His promise, which He would assuredly fulfill.


The people thought Moses alone could deliver and Moses thought God would not deliver because of the unfaithfulness of the people. The common and unchanging factor for each party is the promise of God.


NUM 20:6 Then Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting, and fell on their faces. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to them;


NUM 20:7 and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,


NUM 20:8 "Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink."


NUM 20:9 So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him;


NUM 20:10 and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, "Listen now, you rebels [rebellious ones]; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?"


NUM 20:11 Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank.


NUM 20:12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."


It is not as though Moses didn't believe that water would come from the rock, but that God would actually deliver this people, so he doesn't speak to them in comforting words that might encourage their faith, but in harsh, condemning words.


PSA 106:32-33

They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah,

So that it went hard with Moses on their account;

Because they were rebellious against His Spirit,

He spoke rashly with his lips.


Instead of speaking to the rock as commanded, Moses spoke to the people, and then he struck the rock twice in his anger, as if his own exertion was what would bring forth the water. God's blessings do not depend upon human exertion.


"Treat Me as holy" - set apart from the people in righteousness and justice … faithful and not dependent on the people.


God told him that he didn't treat God as holy. Holy, meaning sanctified or set apart, was and is what God is forever. He is not one of the people so as to be swayed by the unfaithfulness of the people, but He is set apart from them as perfectly righteous and just. He will fulfill His unconditional promise in spite of them, hence it is unconditional.  


Worn out with numerous temptations, he allowed himself to be overcome and so he stumbled in unbelief.


Aaron also waivered in unbelief. We have no account of Aaron saying or doing anything, certainly he didn't also strike the rock, but God looks upon the heart, and so Aaron was in agreement with Moses, that God would never lead these people into the land though God had unconditionally promised to do so.


Their sin became a grievous one, from the fact that they acted unworthily of their office. God punished them, therefore, by withdrawing their office from them before they had finished the work entrusted to them. They were not to conduct the congregation into the promised land, and therefore were not to enter in themselves.


These things are written for our instruction.


1CO 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;


1CO 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;


1CO 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food;


1CO 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.


This passage has led some to believe that the actual first rock followed them throughout the desert wanderings. It is clear that Paul is referring to Jesus Christ as the Angel of the Lord.


Paul's opening states how all of them were blessed by God in the beginning. A good beginning does not guarantee a good ending. Most of the people kept tempting God, just daring Him to act. Believer's do this today. They begin in the word, learn of the grace of God, act foolishly only to see the grace and forgiveness of God who is slow to discipline, and so run fully in the cosmic system just daring God to act. He will!


We never arrive. We can never rest on past victories or past blessings. We are always moving forward in the plan of God.


1CO 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.


1CO 10:6 Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.


The Corinthians were guilty of all that follows.


1CO 10:7 And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, " The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play." [EXO 32:6 - golden calf]


1CO 10:8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. [NUM 25:9 - camped at Shittim, some of the people played the harlot with the daughters of Moab and worshipped their false gods]


Numerically this is about 2% of the people if we imagine there are one million, though there are probably more.


1CO 10:9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.


1CO 10:10 Nor grumble [as the Corinthian's grumbled against Paul], as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. [the first generation and the report of the ten spies]


1CO 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.


1CO 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. [don't ever think you've arrived]


1CO 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.


Verse 13 is written in light of the Exodus. They were able to handle the temptation and God always provided the way of escape.


It became a wonderful arena in which to display their faith in the promises of Jehovah, and our individual wilderness situations afford us the exact same opportunity.


NUM 20:13 Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the Lord, and He proved Himself holy among them.


God put their unbelief to shame by bringing water out of the rock. The place was not called Meribah, but the waters were called "strife" or "contention" by God.


Moses was told to speak to the rock and not to strike it. His strong language indicating his anger with the people. Moses' sin is not believing in God.


Moses' and Aaron's unbelief - we'll never enter the PL with these rebellious people. Eyes on people rather than on God's word.


There are a lot of evil people and circumstances around us, more so at certain times than on others, and we become evil in our thinking sometimes as well. And like driving past a bad accident and rubbernecking, we can easily get our eyes on people and evil and remove them from the word of God, which in my analogy is the road. God has allowed evil and He will always deal with it in His perfect timing until the end of time when all of it will be removed. As the Lord said to Peter, "You follow Me!"


So it is not the striking per se that is the sum total of the sin of Moses but what caused the anger in him and then the striking. The striking is sinful, but that is not the root of the matter. It is what was in Moses' thinking that was the true cause, and God brings that out, unbelief.


Every overt sin has its root in a mental attitude of unfaithfulness to the word of God.


God is faithful. Though the people and Moses and Aaron have not believed the Lord, He still provided the needed water to the people and He will enter them into the PL.


In essence the people didn't believe they would enter and Moses and Aaron said, "Good guess, Rebels!" and so failing in their mediator roles.


They should have confidently confirmed God's promise, God's faithfulness, God's love of Israel, and God's power to accomplish all that He said He would. Instead they put their eyes on the people and concluded that they wouldn't enter, as if God needs the people.


Moses is their mediator. Up to this point, Moses had, under every provocation, been faithful as a steward over his charge, and pleaded with God and prevailed, because he believed.


This was Moses thirty eight years ago at Sinai during the golden calf incident.


EXO 32:9 And the Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people.


EXO 32:10 "Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them, and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation."


EXO 32:11 Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why doth Thine anger burn against Thy people whom Thou hast brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?


EXO 32:12 "Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth'? Turn from Thy burning anger and change Thy mind about doing harm to Thy people.


EXO 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants to whom Thou didst swear by Thyself, and didst say to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'"


EXO 32:14 So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.


No matter how long Moses served God and mediated for the people faithfully, he does not earn the right to disbelieve God in front of the people.


We never stop fighting the good fight of faith, no matter how long we've been doing it. Getting weary and losing heart is of the heart and soul, not the physical body. Through the word of God and the Spirit we can keep our hearts from becoming weary by means of where we put our faith.


HEB 12:3

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.


GAL 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.


GAL 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.


GAL 6:9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.


GAL 6:10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.