Day 22: The Cost of a Few Rash Words

"And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, 'Here now, you rebels, shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?' And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his rod twice; and water came forth... And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not believe in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.'"

Numbers 20:10-12, RSV 


Yesterday we looked at the Promised Land being taken away from the people who refused to obey God. When we look at that event, most of us can readily see why God had such a harsh penalty. Why, we do the very same with our children: If they disobey, they get no reward.


But this incident with Moses and Aaron seemed different. Why was it such a big deal that God barred Moses and Aaron from going into the promised land? The 106th chapter of Psalms gives the answer to that question:


"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 words that were rash."

Psalms 106:32-33, RSV


Here we see that the "big deal" was that Moses spoke rash words. When you go back and read the account in Numbers, it appears that he actually gave credit to himself and Aaron for bringing forth the water from the rock instead of God. Now, it was clear that Moses was aggravated - the account in Psalms tells us that - so he was probably just not thinking clearly.


But, of course, that's the very definition of rash words: Speaking before thinking. I do it all the time - perhaps you have trouble with this as well. But we need to be careful that this bad habit does not turn into sin, because if we sin with our rash words the consequences can be quite severe. How severe? Well, it kept two of the greatest servants of God from entering the Promised Land. Now that does not mean that Moses was lost forever as a result of his rash words - it appears very clear that he repented. Still, it cost him a lot, don't you think?


What, do you think, will be the penalty for us if we are not careful with speaking before we think - even if we believe ourselves to be justified in doing so? It's something to consider... maybe that's the reason that God included this account within the pages of His holy Word.


"Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in Heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few."

Ecclesiastes 5:2, RSV


Today is Day 22 of the Thirty Day Challenge to read through the Books of Moses, with the 19th through the 24th chapters of Numbers being the reading for the day. May God richly bless you as you seek His will!