“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.’” Numbers 20:12 (NIV)
My daughter Noelle and I were giddy with excitement! We were about to see one of our favorite Christian bands in concert. Amazingly, I was able to get backstage passes to meet the band before the concert. I walked up to the special guests table and gave them our names.
The lady looked skeptically at us. “Nope,” she said. “I don’t see your names. You have to have your names on the list to get backstage.”
I quickly texted my contact to try to remedy the problem. The “Promised Land” of going backstage was rapidly closing.
Perhaps this was a small glimpse of how Moses might have felt when he was denied access to the Promised Land. I’m sure he was far more disappointed than we were! We find Moses’ sad tale in Numbers 20. The people of Israel were contending with Moses yet again, wishing they would have died as slaves in Egypt instead of trekking through the wilderness.
God specifically commanded Moses to speak to the rock to bring forth water. Instead, Moses proclaimed, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10b), and he lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff, completely ignoring God’s command to speak to the rock.
Our key verse reveals the consequence of Moses’ disobedience and disbelief: “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’” (Numbers 20:12).
It was a terrible, heartbreaking blow for Moses. There was a list of people — an entire nation — who would walk into the Promised Land. Moses was not on that guest list.
But thankfully, the story doesn’t end there.
In the Gospels, we read about the Transfiguration of Jesus. Who was on that high mountain with Jesus Christ? Moses! Matthew 17:2b-3 speaks of the Transfiguration of Jesus: “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus” (NIV).
Moses might have been denied a backstage pass to the Promised Land, but here he was in full color standing on the mountaintop with Jesus Himself. Moses represented the law, and now here he is with Jesus, the fulfillment of the law.
Moses’ life on earth ended on a disappointing note in Numbers (and in the next book of the Bible, Deuteronomy), but here he stands in the New Testament as a friend of God. What a glorious second chance! There was a very short guest list at the Transfiguration … and Moses was on it.
Maybe you’ve felt left off a “guest list” before. Your marriage isn’t as happy as your friend’s. Or maybe you’re single, and you wish you weren’t. You’ve been passed over for a job promotion that you felt you deserved. You’ve sinned, and you’re not sure how to relate to God now. Take heart. We serve a God of second chances.
By the way, my daughter Noelle and I did get a second chance to get backstage. Our names were added to the list, and we eventually got to meet one of our favorite bands after all. The hassle made that special opportunity even sweeter. Let’s believe God for second chances in life and give thanks ahead of time.
Heavenly Father, thank You for second chances in life. Forgive me for my disobedience and disbelief. I don’t want to harden my heart like the nation of Israel did while they were wandering through the wilderness. I believe Romans 8:28, that You are working all things together for my good. I love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Psalm 77:20, “You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” (NIV)
Hebrews 3:7-9, “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
Can you relate to Moses when he struck the rock and spoke out in frustration, instead of faith? Take a moment to confess your need for a stronger faith in God, and bring your frustrations before Him.
Are you feeling left out in any area of your life? How might God be working behind the scenes to mature you and help you to grow? We’d love to hear your story!
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