Asking the Right Question
Imagine being the leader of millions of complaining, grumbling, and ungrateful people! This was Moses’s story for forty years. In Numbers 20 the Israelites again complained about their long and difficult journey to Canaan through the vast desert. They quarrelled with Moses and questioned his leadership, again. When Moses went to seek God’s help, he was given clear instructions on how to solve the crisis: “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the (Israelites) together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. …” (Numbers 20:8, NIV). However, in anger and frustration, Moses “raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.” (v. 11)
Though he did not follow God’s clear instructions, the problem was solved: water still came out and the people drank. Despite Moses doing it his way, it still “worked.” But there was one problem: God was not happy and Moses had to pay for it, “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.” (v.8). We may think that Moses’s reaction was justified because the Israelites were hard to deal with, but God did not excuse it.
Here’s the lesson for us today: Just because it has worked does not mean that God is behind it or for it. As Christians we should always ask the right question before we make any move, and the right question is not “does it work?” but, “Is God going to be pleased by it? Will it show my trust in Him and honour His Name?” We ought to be more concerned with pleasing God than life working out for us. As Dr. Crabb wrote, “Life doesn’t consist of making things work; that’s a life from the devil. Life is all about knowing God better, no matter the cost, and moving into challenges of life to further God’s purposes, not ours.”
Have a blessed week!