Monday, November 11, 2019

Why We Are Tempted To Strike The Rock

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.” – Joshua 5:13-15

I often quote Joshua 1:8-9. You are familiar with the Story of Joshua, I am certain.  After Moses was denied the privilege of leading the people across the Jordan into the Promised Land, Joshua was given the mantel of leadership. 

The Lord said to Moses,  ‘Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.’ So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, ‘Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?’ Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘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.’” – Numbers 20:7-12

Moses was allowed to see the land but not enter it.  A consequence of his sin. Did that mean that Moses was not heaven bound? No. 

As he [Jesus] was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.” – Luke 9:29-31

Ok – so back to Joshua 5.  The commander of the Lord’s Army is thought to be a theophany – an appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament.  Recall the when angels appeared before men at other times, they would not allow the men to knell before them and worship them – worship belongs to God. In this case Jesus revealed Himself to Joshua and allowed Joshua to kneel and worship.  When Joshua asked if what His intention was – the Lord said Joshua was to join Him not the other way around.  God is not our servant waiting to do our bidding.  We are in the Lord’s army – not fighting with Him but fighting for Him.  A subtle distinction for certain, but a distinction all the same.  God made it possible for the water to flow from the rock and all Moses had to do was obey – speak to the rock – but Moses lacked faith and struck the rock with his staff instead. Didn’t God tell him to bring the staff? Yes.  But He didn’t tell him to use the staff.  In a similar way God showed up so that Joshua and the people could be led by Him not so He could do Joshua’s and Israel’s bidding.

The city of Jericho fell not because they had a strong army – which they did – but because they obeyed God and marched around the city seven times – in other words, they spoke to the rock – they didn’t strike it with their sword.  Our success in our spiritual walk is solely dependent upon our faith and obedience. 

“… ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” – Zechariah 4:6

Does that mean that we won’t face hardship? No. Does that mean the we won’t experience loss? No. What it does mean is the we are place our full trust and confidence in God, no matter what. Listen – it is hard for us to not strike the rock. To do what makes sense to us and ignore the Word of the Lord.  You are not the only one who struggles with their trusting God.

There is no temptation taken you but such is common to man” – Psalm 119:11

That is why God told us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes” – Proverbs 3:5-7

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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