Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the LORD. So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the wilderness, make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands. They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; they aroused the LORD’s anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them. But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked. This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come. By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them; for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses’ lips.
Moses was fed up with Israel. He had been God’s instrument in the plagues, deliverance from Egypt, the Red Sea crossing, and being fed in the desert, but the people continued to grumble and “did not obey the Lord.”
One of Israel’s great grumblings took place by the waters of Meribah. Israel blamed Moses for leading them out of Egypt. They refused to believe God’s promises and believed, instead, that God had taken them to the wilderness to die of thirst. God instructed Moses, “Speak to the rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.” But Moses was so frustrated with the people that he struck the rock twice with his staff. This rash disobedience was very costly.
We thank God for His love and forgiveness. We thank God for His restoration. But we cannot blame our sin on others and we cannot forget that sin has consequences. Moses was forgiven, but because of his sin, he was not allowed to lead the people into the Promised Land. This is a solemn reminder. Be aware of the consequences before you sin.
Father, help me to think before I sin. Help me realize the solemn truth regarding sin’s consequences. In Jesus’ name. Amen.