Formations Lesson for February 20- An Irate Leader
February 4 2011 by John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association

Focal Passage: Numbers 20

Paul writes, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12, KJV). 

At a former congregation I served in Virginia I had followed a retiring minister (who had been in a very fruitful ministry for over 60 years). This church was a small, yet vibrant rural work that was active in local and global missions.

Within this congregation was a man who was known as “the deacon who could make a preacher cuss.”

This deacon became a good friend and encouragement, but he really did make life for the former pastor very difficult.

On a mission project in Pennsylvania he pushed that pastor’s patience beyond its breaking point and in a fit of sheer exasperation and anger he told this deacon off.

After this encounter, the deacon walked away “innocently” wondering why his pastor was so profane and rude.

Sadly, though he had caused this incident, he never understood why any minister could lose control like that.

Moses and Aaron led Israel from Egypt through the wilderness towards the Promised Land. This journey had not been easy. Though Yahweh went before them and provided for the needs of the people, they still found reason to complain and whine.

At Kadesh, Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, died and was buried.

While encamped there the people began to complain — No Water!

This was not the first time they had complained about water (or food). Earlier at Marah they complained that the waters were too bitter. The Lord gave Moses a piece of wood and the waters were purified- bitter water was sweetened (Ex. 15:22-25a).

Then at Rephidim, they complained again — No Water! — and the Lord instructed Moses to strike the rock of Horeb where the Lord stood and water came forth (Ex. 17:1-7).

And now at Kadesh, there is no water and the people long for the enslavement of Egypt with its vines, pomegranates, grain and figs, rather then this “evil place” (Numb. 20:5).

Enough is enough! This time God gives a different response.

Moses must take his rod and speak to the rock before the people to release the water. But, since enough is enough, Moses hits the rock twice; “Listen, bitter ones, should WE make water come forth from this rock for you?” (Jione Havea).

The water does appear, but Moses has cast his lot. He spoke and acted in defiance and contradiction and the Lord will not allow His glory to be transgressed.

This event proved to be crucial for the future faithfulness of the Jewish people (Ps. 81:7; 95:8; 106:32). We read, “They angered him at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account, for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips.”

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2/4/2011 5:06:00 AM by John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association | with 0 comments

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