Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Striking the Rock

Have you ever been really upset by something, even if it isn't happening to you? I tend to be a crusador type of person - every wrong or injustice sort of hurts me until it is fixed in some way. It's very hard for me to see a wrong and just stand by and do nothing. I was really wrestling with one of those types of things this morning. I'm sure my fellow morning travelers thought I was nutso since I was driving down the road talking animatedly with God and crying to boot. lol

I asked for His wisdom and His clarity. I find that I often see things through a too human lens and my focus is wrong or my emotions cloud my judgement. It's a new thing I'm trying this year - ask God first rather than react and THEN ask God. It's taking a bit of practice though.

What He brought to my mind was something I recently read in Numbers. (I'm reading through the Bible and I have to admit that Leviticus was quite a slog). It was when the Israelites were complaining (again) about having no water. God told Moses to speak to the rock and out would come water. Well, Moses was fed up with the whiney Israelites. And really, who could blame him? Having children, I can understand his frustration. There are some days, especially when they were toddlers...... Anyway, Moses in his anger and frustration with the Israelites sin and failure to believe, struck the rock instead. I've always felt rather sorry for Moses because to me, this doesn't seem like too big of a thing. I mean, the man was angry. Don't we all get angry? And it was righteous anger - he was angry with the Israelites sinning again. Well, to God it WAS a big thing! Moses, letting his temper get the best of him, ruined the word picture God was trying to create. So, Moses didn't get to go into the promised land.

Then God brought to my mind that verse that says, "Be angry and sin not." So, in my anger, frustration and sorrow over others sin, I was to avoid sinning myself. I was not to "strike the rock." What does that mean to me in a practical way?

It means that I pray for the people involved. And I pray with the intention of everyone's good, not those prayers you read in Psalms where David is asking God to strike his enemies down!

It means that I don't discuss it with all my friends. I keep my own counsel and don't spread strife among my fellow believers.

It means I encourage those who need encouraging but without enabling them in their own bitterness or anger or hurt. I encourage them to forgive and leave the situation with God.

It means my actions need to be because I am following God's guidance - not to make a point or out of spite.

By striking the rock, Moses sinned also. While the Israelites were whining and carrying on again, Moses didn't listen to God. He disobeyed. And although his sin seems understandable and justified, it wasn't any different than the Israelites' sin. So, my lesson for the day is to not let my emotions carry me into doing wrong too. Others sin never justifies my own disobedience. Ouch! It sure is uncomfortable when God points out your own self righteousness!

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