Numbers 20:1-13 (Part 1) – Like Trying to Assemble a Kid’s Toy Without The Instructions…

Posted: September 26, 2016 in Book of Numbers
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Numbers 20:1-13 (Part 1)
Water from the Rock

I know the fathers of the world can identify with this! So, guys, read on. How many times have you heard those dreaded words of “some assembly required”? Show of hands out there, how many of you have tried to put together whatever needed assembling without using the directions? Those of you dads out there with your hands down…you’re lying! We’ve all done it. Whether it be a kid’s toy on Christmas Eve? Whether it be a yard tool or other yard equipment? Whether it be the dreaded entertainment center that has 11 billion parts and screws? We have all thought we knew best. We have our male pride, right? We can do this. “I don’t need any help from some stinking directions written by some guy in a back office in Hong Kong somewhere!” is our battle cry when it comes to putting things together. And, yes, we tear off into our project without those directions and we try to put whatever it is together without reading and obeying those directions. Then you get to the point that you realize that you have really screwed up and you have to disassemble the whole thing and start over. This time, you use the directions and lo and behold, it worked out perfectly. You feel really stupid for having tried to put it together on your own and then having to tear it down and start over again as if you had done nothing the previous two or three hours (if you are lucky to have only spent that amount of time). You guys know what I am talking about. That frustrating feeling that you should have followed the directions from the beginning and you would not be right here, right back where you started from. Frustration for having wasted all that time on prideful attempt to do it your way and not the way known and tested in the assembly directions that came with the thing that you were putting together.

When I started reading this passage, I first really was puzzled by why the author, whom we presume for the most part to be Moses, inserts v.1 of chapter 20 in a sequence on the ongoing issues of managing the society of Israel, we have this inserted mention of the death of Miriam. It really puzzled me why that was inserted between the instruction on the water of purification sequence and the sequence about the grumblings of having no water and God’s resolution to that. It just seemed to be a weird insert to me. At the same token, I know, too, that there are no wasted words in God’s Word. So, I struggled with it all day yesterday while on vacation in the Rocky Mountains in a cabin compound with friends. This was mulling around in my mind while hiking through the most beautiful evidence of God’s majesty that I have seen in a long time and while watching pro football on TV that sits in front of a picture window with this giant, majestic 14,000 foot group of mountains in front of me. Why, why did the Lord want that in there? I finally got it this morning. Think about the location. We are right back where we started from. Right before the Promised Land. All that time wasted.

That’s what I want us to think about today as we read through this passage the first time today (there will be two more blogs on this passage to come). I want us to think about how many times in our lives we are back at Kadesh once again. Back at square one after we have gone off on our own and done things our way only to find that we screwed it all up and we are back at square one. Let’s read Numbers 20:1-13 together right now with a focus on that first verse, Numbers 20:1:

20 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.

2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! 4 Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? 5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”

6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7 The Lord said to Moses, 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

9 So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

13 These were the waters of Meribah,[a] where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.

What I want us to walk away with this morning is just doing things God’s way from the get-go. Think about all the times that we try to do things our way. And how often we completely screw things up. How often do we have to start over from scratch? How often do we have to retrace our steps and fix our messes that we have created? Why didn’t we just do things God’s way from the beginning. There is an old saying that goes, “if you keep doing what you are doing you will keep getting what you’ve always got” that seems so true here. Miriam who started off so well in the desert but ended up doing things her own way, grumbling against God and her leadership and then ended up dying short of the Promised Land right back where they started from right at the border of what God had planned. She died short of the finish line of what God had promised and it was all because she did not do it God’s way the first time.

Is your life keeping on coming back to square one because of following your pride? Let us think about doing things God’s way so that we do not waste time in the wilderness. If we keep doing things our way we will get what we always get, having to come back to square one and starting over again. Think about the time we are wasting by not doing things God’s way. We will fall short of the promise that He has for our lives. He has a Promised Land for all of us. Is your marriage in trouble because of foolish pride in trying to do things you own prideful ways. We have to become the change that we seek in our marriages. We have to set our pride aside and do things God’s way. Are you having problems in walk with Christ? Is your pride in the way? Are you having troubles in life that you blame on others? Are you seeking things that are not of God and wondering why that you are getting the mess that you are getting? Are you wasting your life and the promise that God has for it by seeking your own desires? Right back where you started from? Starting over again? And again? How bout listening to God and His Word and doing it his way from now on?

Otherwise, you will end up like Miriam. Right at the border of the Promised Land and never getting to go there? What is it in your life that prevents you from your Promised Land? What is in your life that you are doing that is in opposition to God’s Word? What is it in your life that is in opposition to the directions that He has for your life? If you keep doing what you are doing you are going to get what you always get? Let us seek God’s direction for our life and follow it? Then we won’t have wasted the rest of our lives trying to get it done our way! Then, we won’t have to go back to the instructions and start all over again. Our time is limited here. Are you willing to live in opposition to God’s will for your life and end up dying without having entered the sweet spot of alignment with God’s will and receiving the blessings that come from that. Are you going to die right before the Promised Land?

Amen and Amen.

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