During the last few days, I have been very upset with the christian community. I need and want to pause today to react to some of this insanity. Our authorities are asking us to stay home. Period. Not to fill easter eggs to give out to the community , not to allow college students to live in a dorm because some how after paying thousands of dollars in tuition they have no where else to live, and not to congregate even in small groups so we can be “the hands and feet of God” but “Oh I promise we are staying 6 feet apart”. It’s selfish and a catastrophe waiting to happen. I could rant for paragraphs and paragraphs but I’m going to share a story instead.
This story was about Moses and his sister. His sister’s name was Miriam. She’s the little girl that hid Moses in the reeds and allowed the Pharaoh’s daughter to find him. Later Moses would become very close with his sister. They eventually lead together the Israelite community alongside their brother Aaron. The story follows them in the wilderness, Moses’s dear sister dies. There are no details to how she died. It’s just a statement. No sadness. No grief. But we do see anger. Moses is all of a sudden very angry. The people are complaining again, there is no water. Let’s look at what Moses does.
6 Then Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle ( AHah …… see we still can’t get away from the holy Temple/ Tabernacle) and fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them, 7 and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”
Spoiler alert , Moses, is mad. He doesn’t want to follow the rules. He’s tired and upset because his sister just died. He’s tired of hearing these people belly ache. He wants to do things his own way. Let’s look at what happens next.
9 So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” Numbers 20:9-12.
Moses did not speak to the rock as God had asked him to do, he struck the rock. He struck the rock twice. He did get what he wanted. He got water. He got to prove his point to everyone. But he didn’t trust God. He disobeyed God. Moses was punished for his disobedience. He was not allowed to enter the promised land because of his disobedience. After 40 years, wandering about, eating manna, listening to people complain everyday, hanging out with God himself on the mountain tops, and then bam his sister dies, he lost all control.
What impact did the death of Miriam have on Moses? Rabbi Rashi , a famous jewish bible commentator suggests a great deal. “The well had not run dry; rather Moses, overwrought by the loss of his sister, could no longer bear the murmurings of his people. Affected adversely, he intentionally disobeyed God’s instructions.”
We as Christians are trained to follow authority. “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” So, what’s up people? Why would you make the decisions you are making? Are you angry? Do you not trust God? Do you think you are more righteous than everyone else who is obeying authority?
Let’s not follow Moses’s lead this time. He did love the Lord deeply, just like you and I do. He spent every waking moment trying to do as God instructed him to do. But he broke under pressure. We can not allow our emotions to cloud our judgement. We are going through the single most fearing producing time period in our lifetimes. However, we are called to trust God. We are called to submit to authority. We are called to obey. Our government is not asking us to do anything to dishonor our Lord. They are just asking us to stay home to save lives.