Numbers 20:8, 10-11—“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.” 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?” 11Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
This is the second time the LORD commanded Moses to bring water from the Rock. The first time God told Moses to strike the rock with his rod. This second time Moses was told to speak to the rock. Instead, Moses spoke some harsh words to the complaining people and struck the Rock twice. We can hardly blame him for being upset. This incident was cited as the reason he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. What is so horrible? We must remember that the LORD spoke clearly to Moses. Moses was not trying to discern what the LORD was leading him to do. In 1 Corinthians 10, we learn that this rock is a picture of Jesus. The first time we come to Him for the water of life, we find that He had to be struck for us that the water of life might flow out. He was struck in our place upon the cross. Once struck, He need never be struck again. All we need to do is speak to our Rock, and the water of Life is freely given to us. What an awesome picture God was painting! But Moses marred it. Notice that in Moses’ anger he also said that he and Aaron were the ones bringing out the water from the rock. Jesus alone can do that. Moses fell into the fatal error of many leaders. He suggested that he is the one who meets their needs, pointing to self instead of God. We must always be careful to give God all the glory.