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“But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me, to show my holiness before the eyes of the Israelites, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.'” – Numbers 20:12

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: Numbers 19-21

Over the last few weeks, we have read about Moses’ leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into the new land that has been promised to them. Through most of this journey, Moses has been a leader on a pedestal. He seems to say theright things, do the right things, and is always in the right places. It may seem difficult for the common person to relate to Moses. Until today…

Have you ever made a mistake in your life? Have you ever done something or said something that you wish you could take back? Have you ever tried to show off to impress someone or to gain power in a certain situation? Then you can probably relate to Moses in today’s reading. Moses is given instruction by God to strike a rock and water will come forth for the Israelites. But Moses decided to strike the rock and claim credit for the miracle. As you can imagine, God was not pleased. And Moses was restricted from leading the Israelites into thePromised Land.

I’ll be honest…this punishment seems a little harsh. Why would God do this to Moses? Moses is the one who has been faithful in leading the Israelites — even when he did not want to. Moses is the one who pleaded with God on behalf of the Israelites to show compassion when God was ready to destroy theIsraelites. Why would God deny Moses the opportunity to enter into thePromised Land? Because Moses misled the people at a critical time.

I do not claim to know all the ways of God, but I do understand that God does not like when we claim credit for what only God can do. While the punishment for Moses may seem harsh, Moses should have understood this principle more than anyone else. Because Moses failed in this moment, he was not going to be able to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Does this mean that God did not love Moses? Of course not! In fact, we see Moses appear again in theNew Testament alongside Elijah as the two people at the Transfiguration. Even though Moses was not allowed into the Promised Land, there was still a place for Moses in God’s redemption story.

This Sunday, we are talking about what influences our decision making — fear or faith. It’s going to be a wonderful time of worship and we will celebrate our preschool ministry at the 11:00 service! Have an amazing weekend and I look forward to being with you in worship at 8:45 and 11:00!

Grace and peace,
Matt

P.S. Next week is the beginning of Lent. Lent is a 40 day journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter. You are invited to kick off Lent with us beginning on Tuesday, February 25, with a Fat Tuesday Pancake Supper. On Wednesday, we will have our Ash Wednesday service at 6:30 PM in the Sanctuary followed by some Lenten Reflection Stations for all ages in the Fellowship Hall. I hope you will make your plans to join us.