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“Number 20:1-13 records the sad event which resulted in Moses being forbidden entrance into the land of promise. The people demanded water. Moses appealed to God. God instructed Moses to speak to the rock. Moses, instead of speaking to the rock, rebuked the people and struck the rock twice with his rod. Water gushed forth for the people, but Moses was sternly rebuked by God and banned from entrance into Canaan. Much ado about a rock?

Once again, the point to be emphasized here is that God designs His ordinances to purposefully and poignantly convey spiritual truths to His people. Any tampering with His appointed ordinances, then, distorts their application and therefore distorts the truth that they are purposefully designed to communicate. From 1 Corinthians 10:4 we know that the rock in the wilderness that provided refreshment to Israel was a type of Christ…

In Horeb, Moses was commanded to strike the rock. Here in Kadesh, he is only commanded to ‘speak to the rock.’ By striking it, not only once but twice, Moses added to God’s command and distorted this beautiful picture of Christ’s sufficient work. It may have seemed a slight deviation to Moses, but it was a great transgression in the eyes of God, and the cost to Moses was also great…

It is often argued that the closeness of the relationship to God which we now have in Christ gives us the right to take liberties with God’s worship in a way that could not be done before. But closeness of relationship to God is no license to add to or subtract from His Law. None was closer to God but Moses. ‘Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD , make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face. Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD.’ (Num. 12:6-8). Even this man, who heard God’s voice and saw His form, could not presume to improvise in the worship of God.” (Comin, 44-45)

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