For 40 long years, Moses had led God’s people through the wilderness wanderings in hope of reaching the Land of Canaan. During that time, something happened that kept Moses from entering the Land of Canaan. This was the time when God told Moses to speak to the rock, but he smote it instead. The people were thirsty, and there was no water to drink. God had told Moses that if he would but speak to a certain rock, water would come forth.
On a previous occasion God had provided water for His people by having Moses take his rod and strike a rock. This time he was only to speak to it. In doing other than what God said, Moses disobeyed the Lord, and this act of disobedience cost him the Land of Canaan. God had already informed Moses of this, but apparently Moses thought it might work out otherwise.
When Moses came to the brink of the Jordan, he pleaded for God to reverse His decision; but God said to him, “No!” The conversation between Moses and the Lord is recorded in Deut. 3:25-27. This passage begins with Moses’ petition to the Lord, and then gives God’s reply to him. What a sad and disappointing moment this was for Moses.
During the wilderness wandering, Moses dealt with a stubborn and rebellious people. There were times when they even thought of killing Moses. He was called upon to solve many problems, suffer many privations, and endure many hardships. Had it not been for his mighty leadership, and particularly his intercessory prayers, this people of Israel would have perished long ago.
Moses was truly their salvation, and time and time again his prayers turned God’s wrath from them. What great afflictions this man had endured that he might reach the promised land!
In a sense this seems unfair, but it was Moses’ disobedience that did it. Many today would think that what he did, in smiting the rock rather than speaking to it, was very insignificant but not so. No disobedience is insignificant! There is no trivial sin and no minor transgression. Any disobedience to God is a serious matter, as we can well learn from this incident. When God says “No,” He means NO!
If we ask God to take away our bad habits, He will say NO. It is not for Me to take away but for you to give up. If we ask God to make our handicapped child whole, He will say NO, because his spirit is whole, and his body is only temporary. If we ask God to grant us patience, He will say NO, because patience is a byproduct of tribulations, and it isn’t granted but learned.
If we ask God to give us happiness, He will say NO; because He will give us blessings, and happiness is up to us. If we ask God to spare us pain and sorrow, He will say NO; because suffering draws us apart from the worldly cares and brings us closer to Him. If we ask God to make our spirit grow, He will say NO; you must grow on your own. But God will prune us to make us more fruitful! If we ask God to give us all things that we might enjoy life, He will say NO; because He gave us life so that we can enjoy all things.
Are you willing to admit that God does know best always? When God says “NO,” it is for man’s own good. We must respect everything God has said. May you, therefore, obey Him that in the final day His answer to you will be, “YES.”