Numbers: the high price of obedience…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Numbers 20:1-22:21

Focus: Numbers 20:6-12

In the world that we live in, it seems there has always been a high price for doing the right thing. You don’t get to your destination as fast because you keep to the speed limit; your music playlist isn’t as long as everyone else because you pay for your music; you can’t keep up-to-date with the latest games and movies because you don’t use torrents; you don’t have that dream holiday house because you fill in your tax return properly…

In his career, Moses made two serious blunders… the first was killing an Egyptian slavemaster. As a result, he had to run away from Egypt. However, God used this opportunity to bring His people out of Egypt and lead them into the Promised Land. The second was hitting a rock. Yes, hitting a rock. Now, the thing is, Moses hit a rock on two different occasions to get water for the people of Israel. It was the second incident which he seriously blundered.

The cost of this blunder was, confusingly, more serious than killing the Egyptian… As a result of Moses hitting the rock, God refused Moses access into the Promised Land. Here is Moses, the guy who killed an Egyptian and resulted in him becoming God’s pointman for leading the people of Egypt to be refused entry into the Promised Land for… hitting a rock?! However, it more than hitting a rock, in God’s words to Moses and Aaron, (v. 12) “Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.

In Mark, Jesus comes across the path of a leper (Mark 1:40-45) and heals him from his disease. Jesus sternly instructs him not to publicise what had happened, but instead to go and honour God by performing the sacrifices required by the Jewish practice. However, the newly healed leper fails to do so, and in turn (v. 45) hinders Jesus’ ministry in the region.

The cost of obedience is a high one, and at the end of the day, it is for God’s honour and glory that we uphold our principles. A lot of people have the ‘Jesus’ fish sticker/badge on the rear of their cars, but what sort of message does that give people when you’re speeding down the road, swerving and weaving your way through traffic? A lot of people have long playlists of worship music on their MP3 players and iPods, but what sort of message does that translate to when people find out? The list goes on. The cost of integrity and righteousness is a high one…that is, to honour God as holy in the sight of the world we live in.

Next Reading: Numbers 22:22-25:18