Moses – Freeing Yourself to Know God

Lesson 12: “Never Too Old To Fail” Numbers 20 & 27


“Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff.” Num. 20:11


Forty years later

·        God keeps no secrets about the heroes of the Bible. They are presented in all their strengths and in all their flaws. We are to learn from their examples, both good and bad (I Cor. 10:11-13)

·        Forty years have passed (Num. 33:38) We don't know a lot about this time. It was a barren period for the Hebrews, spiritually and otherwise. Yet God provided for them (Deut. 2:7; 29:5) We don't know what went through Moses' mind during this time. After all the trouble he had, 40 years is a long time to continue leading these people


Moses' sin

·        By now, most of the people had not been around to see the events we've been discussing. They hadn't seen the miraculous way God provided water at Rephidim (Exod. 17:1-6)

·        Now, again, the people having apparently learned their parents' bad habits, were complaining and quarrelling, forgetting God's blessings. (Num. 20:2-5)

·        Moses, still the faithful leader, goes into the Tabernacle to pray for the people (20:6) Verses 7 and 8 described the instructions God gave Moses.

·        The people were assembled, but Moses angrily struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it, and he berated the people (20:9-11). Moses' frustration may have come from all the other problems he'd faced over the years. Here they go again!

·        Moses did three things. First, he let his anger get control of him, as he had done years before when he had killed the Egyptian. Second, he disobeyed God's instructions. Third, this humble man injected himself and Aaron into the situation by saying 'Must we bring you water…'

·        As a result, Moses was not allowed to lead the people into Canaan (20:12; 27:12-14). With great responsibility comes great accountability! Why the strong discipline from God?


Moses' mature response

·        This great man of god did ask God to change His mind (Deut. 3:24-25) but God said no. And so, Moses again thought of the people. What would they do without a leader? (Num. 27:16-17)

·        That leader would be Joshua, who had been with Moses since Egypt (11:28)


Moses' departure

·        God did allow Moses to see the land they had been struggling to reach for so long (Deut. 34:1-4)

·        He died in good health (Deut. 34:5-7) but his greatest legacy was his relationship with God

·        The people knew they had lost a great leader (Deut. 34:8, 10-12)

·        Consider one more time the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-6; Luke 9:30-31) What a joy it must have been for Moses to see God face to face, and to understand God's wonderful plan


2 Principles


#1) We are never too old or too wise to fail God

#2) We have all the resources we need to keep us from failing God - now and in the homestretch of life


For next week read Luke 5:1-11;John 1:40-42;Matt. 4:18-20;Mark 14:32-38;Luke 22:54-62;Acts 10



The Example of Moses


q       He was wise and discerning, a man with faith the courage to do what was right (Exod. 2:1-10)

q       He made the right choices in life, to serve God first and put Christ at the center (Heb. 11:24-26)

q       He did make mistakes. He was at times governed by emotion instead of reason, he tried to do things in his own strength instead of God's strength (Exod. 2:11-15; Acts 7:23-29)

q       He struggled with feelings of inferiority in the desert, but came to realize God can use us even in our weaknesses (Exod. 2:23-25; 3:1-22; 4:1-20)

q       He allowed God to rebuild his self-image, no matter how painful the process (Exod. 4:27-14:31)

q       He honored and glorified God for all his successes and achievements in life (Exod. 15:1-18)

q       He learned to become a good manager of his household and other responsibilities (Exod. 18:1-27)

q       He was faithful and consistent, even when all others around him were fickle and idolatrous (Exod. 32)

q       He wanted to get to know God better, to enter His presence as a friend (Exod. 33:1-23)

q       He let his life reflect God's glory and goodness from spending time in His presence (Exod. 34:27-35)

q       He learned to handle depressions and disappointment maturely (Num. 11:1-25)

q       He learned to handle unjust criticism with a mature attitude (Num. 12:1-16; 16:1-35)

q       We all need to be on guard against failure  (Num. 20:1-13; Deut. 34:1-12; I Cor. 10:11-13)