“You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.” So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord. …Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill.” – Numbers 20:8-11.
In Numbers 20, God tells Moses to gather up Aaron, the staff, and assemble the entire community to serve as a witness to a miracle which would be God’s response to their grumbling and complaining. These are specific instructions. Moses is to speak to the rock and by Moses’ command, enough water would come forth for the entire community and all of their animals. But Moses is so frustrated with all the complainers that he disregards God’s instructions and what does he do? He smacks the rock, not once but twice. God honors his promise and the water gushes forth…but God’s not happy. Why? Because Moses did not follow God’s instructions.
Every miracle before this required Moses to touch something or do something with the staff; every time God worked through him the staff was directly involved. But this time it’s different. The scripture does not tell us why, but God wants a different approach this time. Moses didn’t accept the different way; instead, he went back to the old way of doing things, and it cost him his right to enter the promised land. (vs. 12) God has a new, different, and better way for each of us just like He did for Moses. Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Sometimes God is wanting to do something “new” or show us a better way and we are stuck in the “old.” It can be hard to let go of the familiar or just seem easier to keep going with the flow rather than try something new that can make everything different. For those who like change – “new” can be exciting. But there is a fundamental truth about the God we serve; He thinks and works outside our way of thinking. He doesn’t always work in the ways that we would have chosen for our “new.” He sees the big picture. He works behind the scenes of life that unfold our every day, in the places where we can’t always see or understand all the “why’s.” He has our best in mind, so our future is secure. It is a better way.
God is not finished with our lives yet. You’re still here. We can rest in His care for us. He knows. He sees. He works in ways we don’t always “get,” but there’s peace in knowing we don’t have to try to control it all. We can let go – of the need to figure it all out, and the striving to make things happen.
In 2022, we are on a journey towards a new and better way together. The world we live in is a whole lot different than what we’re ready for, and we’re going to have to take on some new shapes and abilities if we want to meet it, greet it, and bring it to Jesus. This is our challenge for this year; to become the church God wants us to be.
1. Read Proverbs 14:12. Share about a time when you thought you were doing things the right way, only to learn later that there was a better way. What did you learn from that experience?
2. What area in your life looks most different from Jesus’ life? What’s one way you can start living more like Jesus in that area?