NUMBERS 20:1-13

From Sewell Hall and reworked by David Riggs

   A. The Old Testament reveals much about God and His dealings
      with mankind, and we would be wise to study it.
      1. 1 Cor. 10:11; Rom. 15:4
   B. Moses is mentioned 79 times in the N.T., and without exception
      he is presented as an example of faithfulness and              
      1. Twice in the Hebrew letter it is said, "Moses was faithful  
         in all his house," and in the eleventh chapter Moses is     
         included in "men of whom the world was not worthy."
   C. Nevertheless, Moses did sin, and it is His sin that we want to
      study in this lesson.

   A. Anger.
      1. This is obvious from his words. "Listen now you rebels!"
         a. Consider Psalm 106:32-33.
         b. Thus, Moses' sin grew out of his anger with the children
            of Israel.
            (1) How often do we tell our children, "Ask in a nice
            (2) If that rebellious generation had "asked in a nice
                way," it would have been better for Moses.
            (3) Nevertheless, this did not excuse Moses for his sin.
      2. We must learn to be slow to anger. James 1:19-20; Eph.
         a. Moses' sin was not his anger, but was his acting in
         b. Often, the fights we have with loved ones demonstrate
            the way we act when we are angry.
   B. Disobedience.
      1. Moses was told to speak to the rock. vs.  8.
         a. He spoke many words but none of them were to the
         b. He simply did not do what God told him to do, and he
            reaped the consequences.
   C. Transgression.
      1. Transgression means to cross the line, to go beyond.
      2. 2 John 9 - KJV "whosoever transgresseth."
         a. ASV - "whosoever goeth onward."
         b. NASV - "Anyone who goes too far"; footnote: "goes on
      3. Moses sinned in the sight of God by going too far.
   D. Dishonored God. Vs. 10, 12
      1. Notice: "Must we bring forth water for you?"
         a. The "we" refers to Moses and Aaron. They did not
            mention God. He is left out of the equation.
         b. As the Psalmist said, "He (Moses) spoke rashly with his
            lips," (NKJV) "spake unadvisedly" (KJV).
      2. Verse 12 shows that they failed to hallow God in the eyes of
         the people. Deut. 32:48-52
         a. Thus, they did not give God His just due for providing
            water for the people.
         b. Herod failed to glorify God and was eaten of worms.
            Acts 12:20-23
   E. Unbelief.
      1. "Because you did not believe Me." Vs. 12
         a. True belief or faith in God is trusting in and relying on
      2. Moses did not show or demonstrate his faith in God.
         a. He became angry. God requires that we control our
         b. He was disobedient. Faith is proved and perfected in
            obedience. Godly men and women proved their faith by
            their obedience. Heb. 11
         c. He was guilty of transgression. Definitely, what God
            had said was not as good as what He had not said.
         d. He dishonored God. We need to acknowledge and
            praise God at all times for all things.

   A. We may sin in the way least expected.
      1. Moses was meek and humble; he was not a harsh, ill-
         tempered man. Ex. 3:11; 4:10; Num. 12:1-3
         a. Nonetheless, his character was not demonstrated at the
            waters of Meribah.
      2. Look at Peter's denial of Jesus.
         a. He never would have thought he would have done what
            he did.
      3. Where we think we are the strongest, may be the place Satan
         attacks. 1 Cor. 10:12
   B. No one is above sin.
      1. Moses was certainly one of "greats" of the Bible. Deut.
         a. Nevertheless, Moses sinned. No one is immune from sin,
            not gospel preachers. not elders.
         b. If we say we have no sin, we make God a liar. 1 John
   C. God expects exact obedience.
      1. We need to worship exactly as the truth directs. John 4:24
      2. Following a false way will condemn us. Prov. 16:25; Matt.
   D. The end does not justify the means.         
      1. Israel was famished and weak, and when Moses brought
         forth water, they were refreshed.
      2. No doubt that stubborn and rebellious generation would have
         said to God, "What difference does it make - strike the rock
         or speak to it? The important thing is that we got water!"
         Does this sound familiar?
      3. Things people say today:
         a. Our Missionary Societies or Sponsoring church
            arrangements have done much good. Many people have
            been converted through them.
         b. Our social programs are bringing in many people. Look
            at the good we are doing. We are drawing many people
            to services.
         c. Don't criticize women preachers. Look at the good they
            are doing. God is blessing their preaching.
      4. The end does not justify the means. Moses accomplished
         good, but the way he went about it was wrong. Rom. 3:8
   E. God judges us by our actions.
      1. Moses was judged on the basis of what he did.
         a. Our standing before God is based on our actions.
      2. Today, people want to be judged by some kind of subjective
         faith, a mental acknowledgment or feeling of some kind.
         a. James 2:18 shows that we can see faith by obedience.
      3. God will bring every work into judgment. 2 Cor. 5:10
   F. God is no respecter of persons.
      1. Moses sinned, and he was punished by not being allowed to
         enter the promised land.
      2. He was forgiven of his sin, but had to suffer the
         consequences of the judgment of God.
      3. God is a no respecter of persons and, thus, God is to be
         feared. 1 Peter 1:17; 4:17-18; Heb 12:28-29
   G. God is to be hallowed and praised.
      1. To Him belongs all the glory.
      2. Let us not slack from giving God his due. Eph. 3:20-21
   H. We cannot let mistakes defeat us.
      1. Moses made a grave error, but he didn't let it defeat him.
         a. He didn't give up and turn from God because of his
         b. Moses repented of his sin as manifested by his prayer to

   A. Moses was a great man, but he sinned.
      1. All men sin and fall short of God. Rom. 3:23
      2. If the great man Moses was not excused from his sin, neither
         will we be.
   B. Let us do our best relying on the Lord to help us.
      1. Let us not give up, give in, or give out.
      2. Phil. 4:13