Numbers 19-21 Psalm 46

Moses and Aaron weren’t denied entrance to the Promised Land because they got angry. It wasn’t even for disobeying and hitting the rock instead of talking to it (as I was taught more than once growing up.) They were punished because they took credit for God’s provision.

Moses stood up there, next to Aaron, and demanded to know if they should bring water from the rock. That’s pretty dismissive of God’s power.

Now, I don’t know if he was just that fed-up with the grumbling or that used to standing before them like that. Maybe he had just gotten used to standing on God’s side facing the people, but even if that’s the case, he still set himself up to share credit in God’s work, credit in which he had no part. He was simply the messenger. The power was in no way his. He had nothing to do with the production of water.

So yeah, pretty grievous moment of pride there, but let’s look at something else worth noting. Aaron wasn’t denied the Promised Land for building the golden calf. He wasn’t denied the Promised Land for conspiring against Moses with his sister. He was denied for standing with Moses in this moment, for staking a claim in God’s power that he simply doesn’t have.

I think this is worth thinking about for a moment because it helps us understand where God draws the line. He tolerates an awful lot. He forgives even more. What he does not accept is the assumption of power. Not from humans, not from heavenly beings. We are not nor could we ever be his equals, and our power is never truly ours; it is His power through us. Forgetting this, even for a moment, is incredibly dangerous.

I don’t believe it is something God will not forgive. He doesn’t entirely condemn Moses and Aaron, denying them a place in paradise. He simply denies them entrance to the Promised Land. While that is an incredibly significant punishment, it is appropriate. The point needed to be made that it was not through them that the promise was fulfilled. The entire Exodus was an illustration of God’s power and provision.

Just… let it be a reminder to you. Give glory where glory is due, to God, and don’t loose sight of the source: of your power, of your talent, of your success.

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