A powerful principle in the Bible taught through Moses is that we are to be people of words. As Moses leads the Israelites through the wilderness, they are thirsty. As a result, Moses asks the Lord, “What am I to do…?” God then directs him to a rock and tells him to strike it, and water will flow. Moses strikes the rock, water flows out, and everyone drinks. Later, it happens again, but there is tension within the community this time. People are grumbling, angry, and stubborn. Angry with them, Moses finally stands before the Lord, and tells Him people are thirsty. The Lord says, “Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.”
So Moses and his brother, Aaron, go to the rock and Moses says, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Notice the word “we,” right? He’s not referring to God alone. Already, you see that there is tension, anger, and an undertone of Moses making it sound like he’s the one performing the miracle. He takes the staff, strikes the rock, and nothing happens. This is God’s way of reminding Moses he needs to speak to the rock, not hit the rock. So Moses hits it again and water still comes out and everyone drinks. God then tells Moses that because he didn’t trust Him or fear Him, he will not enter the Promised Land.
Friend, I didn’t understand God’s reaction until I heard a rabbi speak to this. He said Moses became unworthy to enter the Promised Land because he was no longer aligned with God’s vision for its people. God’s people were meant to be a people of words, not swords. You see this often as people of prayer and praise can overcome obstacles through miracles and the power of words!