Start in Obedience and Continue in It

Num 20:10  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? 
Num 20:11  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. 
Num 20:12  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. 
Num 20:13  This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.

 This is a familiar account. The people of Israel murmured against Moses (again), Moses and Aaron turned to God and God gave them instructions on what to do. The difference is that they did not fully obey. The first time they ran into this situation God instructed them to strike the rock. This time, God told them to speak to the rock.

God blessed the people with water even through Moses’ disobedience. God in His patience will often bless us despite our disobedience. Our tendency when that happens is to interpret that as God is still being “on our side.”

Never confuse God’s patience with our disobedience with God’s approval. A rose cut off from the rose bush will continue to be an object of beauty for a time, but eventually, it will whither and die being cut off from the stem.

I can live in disobedience to God, cut myself off from His fellowship, and still look like I am in good standing before God for a time, but all disobedience has its consequences and it does not matter how powerful your testimony was before the transgression. For Moses and Aaron, despite decades of faithful service, their disobedience in smiting the rock rather than speaking to it as God had instructed, cost them their entry into the Promised Land.

Did God disown them? No. He also did not lessen the impact of their disobedience. When I disobey, when I stray from God, even though there is always forgiveness, there is also always a consequence. Every sin, every wandering from the path of God leaves a scar, has a consequence. Of course, God will have mercy when we repent, but we must be ever diligent in our obedience to the Lord and avoid disobedience in the first place.

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