Awesome Hands – Part 129: “To Speak or Strike”

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Awesome Hands – Part 129

To Speak or Strike

January 26, 2018

It is easy to read “keep His commandments” and then to say, “just keep them”, but as we come to learn very on in our walks with the Lord, it is a wholly different thing to live this out.

In our study today, we are going to see how even the humblest man “on the face of the earth” did not do, exactly as the Lord commanded, all the time. If this can happen to Moses, then it can surely happen to our flesh.

Moses strikes the Rock

Our verse for consideration today is found in Numbers 20:11.

Num 20:10  And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
Num 20:11  And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
Num 20:12  And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

In many ways, Moses didn’t only strike the physical rock, but he also struck the spiritual Rock. The result of Moses striking the rock is both swift and immense in its application.

The reason for this is that Moses did what he wanted to do, and no doubt, what was easier for him to do according to the carnal mind in him.

The Lord tells us in writing, that Moses’ action represents unbelief. So, what exactly did Moses do that banned him from entering into the promised land?

Num 12:3  (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

Here is what Moses was told to do:

Num 20:6  And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.
Num 20:7  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 20:8  Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
Num 20:9  And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him.

What a momentous example for us to learn! The Lord tells Moses to speak to the rock to bring forth water for the children of Israel, but he strikes the rock instead. This was counted as unbelief on Moses' part.

From Moses' point of view, this had to be devastating. He was used of the Lord to get the show started by freeing the Jews from the Egyptians, yet he himself would now not be able to participate in the promised land.

Moses has used this rod to do many wonderful things on the Lord’s behalf. Yet, this story shows us that no matter what has happened in the past, nor what we think will happen in the future, we must do what the Lord commands without adding our own experiences or understanding to the matter.

From one of Moses' first interactions with the Lord, we can learn a lot about how the Lord send trials to us.

Exo 4:1  And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.
Exo 4:2  And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.
Exo 4:3  And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.
Exo 4:4  And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:
Exo 4:5  That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.
Exo 4:6  And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.
Exo 4:7  And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.
Exo 4:8  And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

Moses’ first interaction with the Lord gives us a lot to go on as far as the mindset Moses had.

“And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground

“Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it

“Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom:

“And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again;”

Had Moses only done what he did at the beginning with the Lord, he would have been able to lead the Jews into the promised land.

Initially, when the Lord said to do something, Moses did it without hesitation. The Lord counted this as BELIEF on Moses part, and this belief was an ACTION.

I’ve often heard the saying “actions speak louder than words”, and how true it is. Unless our words are supported and backed up with actions, they are dead words. Likewise, when our words are backed up with action, they become very reliable and very powerful.

When the Lord told Moses that he was being sent to the Israelites, and by being sent to the Israelites, they would believe, he was informing Moses right then that it would be by his ACTIONS that belief came.

It just happens that the actions constituted Moses doing things with the rod in his hand that had been given supernatural power.

This is the crux of this study. It is always very important to listen to what the Lord says are His commandments and do only those things.

In our verse today, which mentions the next verse containing “yad” or “hand”, the Lord has told Moses to simply SPEAK. This speaking IS the ACTION, or work.

Don’t we know this to also be true in the New Testament as well, especially in the writings of James?

Jas 2:14 (ESV)  What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
Jas 2:15  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
Jas 2:16  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
Jas 2:17  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Jas 2:18  But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Jas 2:19  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Jas 2:20  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
Jas 2:21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
Jas 2:22  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;
Jas 2:23  and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
Jas 2:24  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
Jas 2:25  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
Jas 2:26  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

What does faith by works have to do with Moses striking the rock versus speaking to it then?

Notice, Moses didn’t speak to the rock; therefore, this DID NOT sanctify the Lord in the eyes of the children of Israel. Rather, Moses took this glory unto himself and did the action he thought was more important or adequate.

Num 20:12  And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

Moses had previously used this rod a lot to show the power of the Lord, but now was a time of progression for Moses where the Lord had given Moses the power to just speak things into happening. The really hard part to accept is that the Lord told Moses to take the rod with him! The Lord KNEW that Moses would do this in unbelief.

Why then is it so important to us to be careful to maintain good works? We know the Lord does the works, but how then are we included in this if they Lord is doing it?

Well, it is very much the same as Moses being told to take the rod with him knowing that Moses would have this rod with him. Had the Lord not told Moses to take the rod with him, Moses wouldn’t have had it and he would have just spoken to the rock. We have read what happened instead.

Mat 5:15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The same Hebrew word translated as “good” in Matthew 5:16 is translated as “honest” in 1 Peter 2:12:

1Pe 2:12  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

When we connect what the “having your conversation honest among the Gentiles” means, as it pertains to good works, then we will start to learn a lesson of why it is important to do what the Lord commands versus what we think we should do.

Here is the same verse translated into the ESV as it pertains to “conversation”, along with some other verses that are listed in the ESV version:

1Pe 2:12  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Gal 1:13  For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.

Eph 4:22  to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

Heb 13:7  Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

Jas 3:13 (KJV) Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

Jas 3:13  Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

1Pe 1:18  knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,

1Pe 3:1  Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,
1Pe 3:2  when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

These last verses show us concretely how LIVING and ACTING are actions which show our BELIEF in God.

2Pe 3:11  Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
2Pe 3:12  waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
2Pe 3:13  But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

We obviously fail and fall often at achieving this optimal life of belief in the Lord by the actions we follow. However, that doesn’t stop us from planning to do what it takes to live lives of holiness and godliness.

Those holy and godly lives are defined biblically as well, so it takes us knowing line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little of the bible, in order for us not to only take our spiritual rod in our hand but to also take the spiritual word of God into our mouths.

Before we end this study, it is prudent for me to show the contrast of maintaining good works versus doing “many wonderful works in the name of the Lord”.

Mat 7:16  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Mat 7:17  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Mat 7:18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Mat 7:19  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 7:20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Notice, it is when talking about FRUIT that we then hear about works from Jesus. After all, these words are directly spoken by Jesus.

Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Here we are then full circle to speaking unto the Rock versus striking the Rock.

Mat 7:24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

What house are we talking about then? Yes, it is the spiritual temple of God that we are.

1Co 3:11  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Why do these works matter? Why, of course it is because we are the temple of God!

1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

What Moses did in type and shadow is defile the temple of God. Since we know we are the temple of God and the Word of God dwells in us, then that, too, is what needs to come OUT OF us as a light projecting itself to the world around us.

However, when we do not have good works which are projected out of us, which then glorify the temple of God, this defiles the temple because they end up being from that which is also in us.

We also have the old man, sitting upon the thrown of God, pretending to be God. This is the war of flesh and spirit that we are always going on about.

1Co 3:18  Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
1Co 3:19  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
1Co 3:20  And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
1Co 3:21  Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

Keeping the commandments of the Lord can present man different things which are far outside the context of this study, but when we are confronted with how to act or what decisions to make, our very first thought should something along the lines of, “what would you have me do Lord?”

Act 22:6  And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
Act 22:7  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 22:8  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
Act 22:9  And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
Act 22:10  And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.
Act 22:11  And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.

When we fall to the earth, proverbially speaking, and literally sometimes, and then ask, “what shall I do, Lord?”, it is then that we can know that we are on the proper path of keeping the commandments of the Lord versus only hearkening to our own ways.

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