The Story of Redemption


Moses Yields to Impatience

“And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock; and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed Me not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” SR 165.2

Here Moses sinned. He became wearied with the continual murmurings of the people against him, and at the commandment of the Lord, took the rod, and, instead of speaking to the rock, as God commanded him, he smote it with the rod twice, after saying, “Must we fetch you water out of this rock?” He here spoke unadvisedly with his lips. He did not say, God will now show you another evidence of His power and bring you water out of this rock. He did not ascribe the power and glory to God for causing water to again flow from the flinty rock, and therefore did not magnify Him before the people. For this failure on the part of Moses, God would not permit him to lead the people to the Promised Land. SR 165.3

This necessity for the manifestation of God's power made the occasion one of great solemnity, and Moses and Aaron should have improved it to make a favorable impression upon the people. But Moses was stirred, and in impatience and anger with the people, because of their murmurings, he said, “Hear now, ye rebels, must we fetch you water out of this rock?” In thus speaking he virtually admitted to murmuring Israel that they were correct in charging him with leading them from Egypt. God had forgiven the people greater transgressions than this error on the part of Moses, but He could not regard a sin in a leader of His people as in those who were led. He could not excuse the sin of Moses and permit him to enter the Promised Land. SR 166.1

The Lord here gave His people unmistakable proof that He who had wrought such a wonderful deliverance for them in bringing them from Egyptian bondage, was the mighty Angel, and not Moses, who was going before them in all their travels, and of whom He had said, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in Him.” Exodus 23:20, 21. SR 166.2

Moses took glory to himself which belonged to God, and made it necessary for God to do that in his case which should forever satisfy rebellious Israel that it was not Moses who had led them from Egypt, but God Himself. The Lord had committed to Moses the burden of leading His people, while the mighty Angel went before them in all their journeyings and directed all their travels. Because they were so ready to forget that God was leading them by His Angel, and to ascribe to man that which God's power alone could perform, He had proved them and tested them, to see whether they would obey Him. At every trial they failed. Instead of believing in, and acknowledging, God, who had strewed their path with evidences of His power and signal tokens of His care and love, they distrusted Him and ascribed their leaving Egypt to Moses, charging him as the cause of all their disasters. Moses had borne with their stubbornness with remarkable forbearance. At one time they threatened to stone him. SR 166.3