How in the world could the Lord possible say to Moses that he (Moses) did not believe Him (the Lord) in Numbers 20:12 (NKJV)? For 40 years Moses led the Lord’s people through the wilderness toward the promised land; for 40 years Moses taught the people the Lord’s way; for 40 years Moses prayed and sought guidance from the Lord—how could the Lord say that?
That Moses did believe and trust in the Lord is obvious to any reader of Scripture, but it must have been the case that in Moses’ frustration with the rebellious people of Israel, in his weakness, he exhibited a degree of rebellion (unbelief) himself. It has been suggested elsewhere that Moses was unsatisfied with the Lord’s remedy of the situation, and he expressed it in his actions before the people.
Whether this is the case or not, one thing that can be learned is this: to him whom much is given much is expected. Moses was given much, very much. The Lord expected better of him, and Moses failed Him on this occasion. How much have you been given?
If you are a leader in any occupation or activity you surely understand what it is like to be frustrated with people you work alongside. Those that work alongside may actually work for you, and sometimes the frustration is made worse.
Moses was a man who had no one work for him, though there were many who worked alongside him. Though no one worked for him, his position in the nation of Israel was without parallel; not even Aaron, the High Priest, was of the status of Moses. The position of these two men within the nation was significant to the people and certainly to the Lord.
As the nation of Israel was approaching the cusp of the land of promise, there was a complaint. Some within that nation complained by blaming Moses and Aaron for not taking them into the promised land in order for them to die in the wilderness (Numbers 20:4-5). Moses had been through this before, but his frustration level reached a peak on this occasion (20:8-11).
The Lord was disappointed in the actions of his two servants, and His response to His two servants was that they did not believe Him in order to sanctify Him before the eyes of the nation. Did not believe Him? I can hardly imagine!
It brings us to a point of application. There is not a single one of us who has not been frustrated greatly by one of the brethren. If Moses was, then who are we to not be? Moses’ response is one with which we can relate very well, but the Lord said we had better not. That’s our application.
Frustration is a battle that rages against many on a daily basis. It wreaks havoc in our homes and it sours our perspective on the world. We must allow Christ to wipe away its stain from our life or its acidic touch will consume our very souls.