And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hands and struck the rock twice with his rod; and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.” (Numbers 20:11 NKJV)
Moses was FED UP !!! Livid, mad, or as my mom would say “HOT as fish grease.” The Israelites were getting on his VERY LAST NERVE after complaining again that they had no water again as they were still embarking to reach the promised land. Moses goes to God for help. God tells Moses to take the rod, speak to the rock so water can pour out and the Israelites and animals can drink. Okay. Sounds like a good plan, right? Still in his anger and rage, Moses goes out to the people, and this where we pick back up having him calling the Israelites “rebels”, striking the rock twice, and the water abundantly pouring out for the people and animals to drink. God said for him to speak to the rock, not strike. So who’s the rebel now?
Anger is one of those emotions I have a very difficult time mastering. Keep making a few pointed, snide, or sarcastic remarks at me and I’ll not doubt come back at you verbally with shots firing. Christian or not, I WILL NOT MISS. When I read this scripture, I reflected back on the many times I struck with my actions or words in certain situations instead of speaking, listening, and obeying God.
Being angry isn’t a sin. It’s how I respond in my anger that can make it a sin. Christmas Eve 2001, I was playing video games almost completing it. I’m in the zone, focused, and it’s getting intense. My parents where in the kitchen cooking. My hyperactive four year old brother at the time kept jumping and wanting to mess with me. I was not in the mood. My dad told me earlier day that if my brother ever jumps on me again, I was to sit my brother down on the couch, tell him to stop, and go back to my dad so he can deal with him. Here comes my brother jumping on me for the LAST time as I’m playing the final stage of the game and I went POSTAL! As he jumped on me, I dropped my video game controller, hit him on the side of the stomach, threw him off me as he flew from the couch to the ground, and I cursed at him. Speak, DON’T STRIKE.
I quickly accomplished the goal of getting my brother off of me but I completely forgot the hefty price to pay called the consequences. I lost my game and had to start from the beginning. My brother was screaming on the floor because he was moderately hurt. My dad heard me curse at my brother and because he heard it, I was not allowed to open any of my gifts for Christmas until after breakfast while my sister and brother get to open theirs before. I was mortified. At 13, that was the end of the world for me around Christmas time. If only I would’ve spoken to my brother instead of striking him.
Moses had a price to pay after striking the rock too. God saw his disobedience and told him that he was not going to be the one to take the Israelites to the promised land (Numbers 20:12). After all that work, all that leading, all that prior obedience, his destiny was forfeited because of pride, lack of faith and self control that one time. Now the awesome thing about God is that He is faithful, gracious, merciful and did fulfill His promise. The Israelites did get to go the promised land. Just without Moses.
Moses did the BEST thing ever by going to God and asking what do about the Israelites. The one thing he needed to do was to follow God’s instruction even if His way doesn’t make sense or it seems like the lame way to go. God cares for us so much and He will NEVER steer us wrong even in the most difficult situations. He knows better than us and may know something that we don’t know (Isaiah 55:8-9). Again, its okay to be angry. God understands completely but just don’t sin (Ephesians 4:26).
So the next time my family member tests my patience, my roommate becomes a little too overbearing, or I want to deck my co-workers in the face and curse them out like I did my little brother, my first step is SPEAK to God and follow His directions on how to handle it. My second is to NOT STRIKE! I must tame my actions and put a lock on my semi-automatic mouth when I find myself in the heat of my rage. I know that I won’t get it right 100% of the time (usually I don’t). However, I do know that I will be extra mindful to stay on the path that God has for me so I won’t make the mistake of forfeiting my awesome divine destiny all because I made foolish decision out of pride, lack of faith, and self control. Speak. DO NOT STRIKE!