In Numbers 20, once again, there was confrontation between Israel, Moses, and ultimately with God.  It was over water…again.  This time, not only would it go bad for Israel, but for Moses and Aaron.  They would forfeit their place in going into the Promised Land.

This story always bothered me a bit.  I understand that this is Old Testament and under the law, and today we are in the New Testament and under grace, but it still has bothered me that for such a small seemingly mistermeiner in comparison to all the sacrifices Moses had made, it is a big punishment.  Wanting to see God’s love in the context of what was going on has been a big deal to me.  I will never come even close to understanding God, but I want to grow in my relationship with Him… and getting revelation on verses like these helps me grow in intimacy.  I am reminded of the verse that says, “The secrets of the Lord are with those who fear Him.”  I want to be the kind of guy that God shares secrets with!

Back to Moses.

The people were angry because of no water.  They felt their needs were not being met, nor would they be.  They blamed Moses that they were wondering in the wilderness instead of in Egypt.  They had forgotten that they were wandering because of their disobedience.  The blame game is going on here, and Moses gets sucked in.

Moses gets angry because he feels it was his responsibility to meet the people’s needs.  In Numbers 11:11-15, Moses expresses to God the burden that he feels as the people complain.

But God never told Moses to carry the people in his bosom.  I heard a preaching sharing this insight and decided to look it up for myself.  Even in the prophets, God said that He would carry His people in His bosom, but that job was not given to Moses.  Moses assumed a role that was not his.  Besides Numbers 11, and here in 20 verse 10 where Moses says, “Must we bring water for you out of this rock,” there is another place.

In Exodus 18, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, challenges Moses that he is doing to much in judging the people, and that he should delegate.

I have never had the responsibility of Moses.  God has never given it to me, but I know that I have taken on too much responsibility for other people at times and sometimes for longer seasons than I would like to admit.  Sometimes sleepless nights of prayer (a.k.a. – worrying), and trying to do things for people that in reality, only they can do.  Now I have been waken before in the night with a heart for prayer that is of God.  Those are more rare and have peace attached to them, and after praying for a short bit, I fall right back to sleep.

The worry burden type…well…it sounds super spiritual…but it is worry.

Jesus said that His burden was easy and His yoke is light.  So why do we use phrases like, “I feel so burdened for this person.”  Maybe we should be approaching prayer and the way we help people differently.

So this is one thing that happened to me.  During the last year leading up to our resigning as pastor of Life Church, I felt I was carrying a lot of people’s emotions and burdens…and guess what…I got angry.

Yes…I admit it…I did!  There.  Confession is good for the soul and I can move on.

I always enjoyed relationships and had fun with people, but it seemed, particularly that last year or two, many conversations moved towards something intense.  I mean…deep stuff going on in people’s lives, or deep stuff going on in the church.  Others were carrying more of the heavy administration stuff, as we had two churches, but I felt I was keeping things together spiriutally and emotionally.

And you know what…second confession…it was all my fault.

I am learning a lot about myself, and sometimes you have to sit out of the game a few rounds to learn why you do some of the things that you do…and there some of those some deep insecurities, confidence issues, fear of man, blah, blah, blah.  Thankfully, God is helping me to make progress, to get to the next level in ways I could not while in the midst of it all!

So…in a small way...a very small way…I can relate to Moses.  He got angry.  Angry at the people.  They were complaining and difficult to lead.  He took it on personally.  Who wouldn’t.  Well…here is the bottom line.  When we step into God’s place and carry people’s burdens, not only do we hurt others by our emotional outburst, we hurt ourselves.

This is what God says to Moses…”Because you did not believe [trust] Me…” (v. 12).  Trust and obedience are intertwined.  When we don’t trust God’s intention towards us, we struggle to obey.  Moses got his eyes off God and on to the people, and it cost him.  Thank God for His grace, but when we take our eyes off God and put them on self or others, it costs us.  It costs us in ways we often do not even realize.

In Hebrews 3 and 4, we read that the Promised Land was not so much about a place, even though that was part of it…but rest.  God wants us to live in rest.  Love, joy, peace.  This is rest.

Anger and frustration and stress are a sign of Works of the flesh.  Rest is a sign that we are living by the Spirit.

Thank God for His grace.  I want to learn.  I want to change.  That means connected more with Jesus and His Word and just being with Him.  When we get worn down…run to the secret place!  Recalibrate and realign with Him!  Rest!