Moses Rocking Anger, Jesus Rocking Stability

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Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”  David in Psalm 16A new day. Trusting the Lord in every Way. He is our ROCK SOLID foundation!

Preparing for a friend’s VBS, I was reminded of the story of Moses and water from a rock. Another day’s story is remembering God is our rock upon which we are to build our lives. The VBS theme is about keeping your emotions in check! Listen to Him to find out.

I remember Sunday school, 15 plus years ago, teaching little kids about the water from a rock story, thought it was cool. Moses tapping a rock and water coming from it. I remember placing a milk jug with water inside a crumpled paper bag that resembled a rock and making it splash. I remember us reaching into the rock and pouring some water to drink, being grateful because the Israelites were so thirsty in the desert and God provided… cool story then and now… but what I NOW realize is that Moses was just supposed to speak to the crowd near the rock, NOT hit it. SPEAK and ACT to show God’s faithfulness, not chastise the people at that moment, even if you think they deserve your anger over God’s Grace. Accept a blessing and not over dramatize your hand in it.

Anger. Anger is one allowable emotion but vengeance and frustration and acting-out which goes over board – that was NOT on God’s agenda for Moses to display that day. Not usually what He wants from us too. God’s punishment to one of His favorite sons, Moses, was earthly harsh. Moses’s earthly future was severely affected and he was not allowed to cross into the Promised Land. (Don’t worry, God did not abandon Moses all together and blessed him.) 

In contrast with struggling in the desert, David a shepherd of God’s sheep and His people, future King, would write (in Psalm 16) what we also should realize: God’s faithfulness. We should tap into His ability to hold us safe BEFORE we blow our top or hit an anger overflow or cave after an entitlement challenge. We should realize that with God, “I will NOT be shaken.”  David had much personal experience of God providing and God rescuing. Perhaps we all need this reminder of God’s comfort. Perhaps we need to remember before we whine about the times that we are being displayed for others to see how we handle our lot in life. Others also notice when we don’t give thanks but they especially notice what shakes us up.

Moses (and that rock) were shaken up. The staff powerfully used in previous incidents was abused in channeling anger frustration in full view of the people whom Moses had been trying to convince to trust God. Frustration showed cracks in Moses’s faith, very visibly to the crowd. When we show our frustration, we show that we are not trusting God to deliver. Surely we are human and will need to vent, stumble, lash out. Thankfully we have Jesus, rescuing and recovering our sins.

Moses started a tough journey. David learned of Moses’s missteps and saw God’s faithfulness. We have all these examples, and the saving Grace of God thru Jesus. Let us rock our firm foundation rather than lash out to rock anger. Let us show that we honor Him as Holy. Let us hold onto our Lord as He is holding on to us. He IS our firm foundation. 

Amen 

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Psalm 16 of David:

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”  

I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

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Moses caving into anger and frustration:  Numbers 29:2-13

Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. SPEAK to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 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?”  Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

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.”

These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.

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Jesus teaching trust in God

The Wise and Foolish Builders

Matthew 7:24-29 

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

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