Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him.
Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy. Numbers 20:6-13 ESV
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Psalm 115:1 ESV
Many years ago Helen Keller, a young girl who was both blind and deaf, wrote a story called “The Frost King.” It was a beautiful story, and an amazing feat for a girl who was only ten years old. However, there was a problem. “The Frost King” was very similar to another story that had been read to her about a year earlier. Helen said she was innocent of stealing someone else’s story. She was very young and probably didn’t mean to do anything wrong, but stealing someone else’s work in this way is called plagiarism. Plagiarism can get people into serious trouble–in writing college papers, publishing stories for newspapers, writing books, or even in making songs. The people who have the ideas first want to get the credit for them.
Moses did something like plagiarism. When the people were angry and upset and demanded water, God promised to give them water from a rock again, just as he had done before. He told Moses to speak to the rock. But Moses was so angry and frustrated with the people that he hit the rock with his stick. Much worse, he claimed that he and Aaron were the ones who brought water to Israel! Only God can bring water out of a rock. Moses shouldn’t have claimed that he could do it himself. God had to punish Moses for not giving God the credit and the glory by not allowing him to bring God’s people into the promised land.
God still does amazing things through his people, and we need to remember to give God the credit when that happens. We might work hard and do well in school, for instance, but our ability to study, our good health, and our teachers and parents are all gifts from God. We shouldn’t take all the credit ourselves. Especially when God brings people into his church through our love and witness, we shouldn’t act as if we did it ourselves. Only God the Holy Spirit can change people’s hearts and lives, and we only share God’s love with his help. Most importantly, we can’t become God’s people because of the good things we do. We are sinners, and we needed a Savior to forgive our sins. Jesus did everything we needed to bring us to God, and he gets all the credit!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the good things you do for us, especially sending our Savior Jesus. In His Name, Amen.