Firmly Wrong

Psalm 107:1–16; Numbers 20:1-13; 1 Corinthians 10:6-13 (read online ⧉)

The Israelites were out of water…again. They complained…again. Yet, there is something different here. It’s subtle. There seemed to be a stronger issue with the leaders (Moses and Aaron), rather than God. Oddly, despite an expressed desire to already be dead, God did not seem to take offense at their words. God then gave a simple instruction to Moses and Aaron…and they did not follow it.

It would seem that Moses and Aaron had finally reached a breaking point. As Aaron generally had speaking duties, it is not unreasonable to think that he called the Israelites rebels. Note that as far as we know—and for this moment—God did not call them rebels. Then there is a sense of self-importance when speaking, “…shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” Perhaps leadership (with a whole lot of miracles to go with it) had finally taken its toll. Lastly, Moses struck the rock…twice. Why twice? Probably a whole lot of irritation flowing out. Yet, God had only told them to, “…speak to the rock.” Aaron had already made plenty of errors regarding God, as had Moses. On the threshold of entering the Promised Land, they were blocked.

Just as Moses and Aaron felt firm in things before God’s pronouncement of not entering the Promised Land, it seems many people in the church of Corinth also felt firm and sure. Paul wanted them to not be so assured of themselves, that they knew it all, and were thus safe from judgment. Paul makes it clear that we will be tested, and that everyone goes through temptation. Paul also throws out a lifeline…God. God will not allow us to be tested beyond our faithful strength. That doesn’t mean we won’t fall—which is Paul’s point—but that God knows we can handle it if we rely on him.

1) Has there been a time in your faith life or “regular” life where you were very sure of yourself and/or your standing…and all of a sudden fell down?

2) What, do you think, is the difference between the fall of Moses and Aaron, and your own falling, or the falling of others, including leaders?

3) Often the biggest temptations that we fall to are not the ones of sin, but the ones that are not sins unless they lead us to not trust or rely on God. Can you think of anything like that in your life?