Disobedience to God's commands or instructions will always take a person to a place where they don't want to go. The Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt is a great illustration of this principle.
The Israelites were disobedient time after time after they crossed the Red Sea. Their disobedience to God's instructions caused them to wander in the wilderness for forty years. It also cost the generation that openly rebelled (600,000 men Exodus 12:37-38) their lives:
And the LORD'S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed (Numbers 32:13).
God chose Moses to lead His people out of Egypt to the promised land, the land that flowed with milk and honey (Exodus 3:6-10). In this study, we will focus on Moses and how he disobeyed the word of God. His disobedience cost him personally as it prevented him from entering the promised land, the goal of the entire journey. This incident occurred near the end of that journey, just before they crossed the brook Zered:
And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the Lord sware unto them (Deuteronomy 2:14).
The Israelites were camped at Kadesh. Having no water they murmured and rebelled against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 20:1-5). Moses and Aaron sought the Lord (Numbers 20:6) and He gave them this specific instruction:
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 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.(Numbers 20:7-8).
Moses took the rod as the Lord told him to (Numbers 20:9), but from then on he went on his own path, instead of the path the Lord had directed:
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? 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 (Numbers 20:9).
He lost his patience, lost his self-control, resulting in him speaking to the people instead of the rock and then striking the rock. When he spoke to the people he gravely erred in saying "must we fetch you water out of this rock". The water came forth but it wasn't Aaron and Moses who performed the miracle, of course it was God. No one should ever take the glory from Jesus Christ:
That no flesh should glory in his presence (1 Corinthians 1:29).
I said above that Moses was impatient and had no self-control when He struck the rock. Look though what God said about the incident on two different occasions. The first at Meribah and the second just before Moses died:
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 (Numbers 20:12 ESV).
And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:50-52 ESV).
In the first verse God said "you did not believe in me" and in the second verse "you broke faith with me". I believe what God is saying is that the root cause of Moses' loss of self-control, patience and his disobedience at Meribah was his lack of faith and his unbelief. In the lessons on faith , believe and obedience, we see that obedience is a significant aspect of both faith and belief. When we don't obey God it is most likely because of our unbelief and our lack of faith in Him and His Word.
Moses was chosen by God to lead His people and serve Him. These are some the scriptures that God has used to describe Moses - Exodus 3:6-10, Numbers 12:3, Deuteronomy 34:10-11, Joshua 3:7, 4:14, Psalm 106:23, John 5:46, Hebrews 3:5, Revelation 15:3, Acts 3:22. When we read these scriptures, we have to wonder why Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land. This should make us very mindful of the importance of obedience to God and the Word of God.
This applies to the world today as well. Our "promised land" is heaven though, and that is why we must obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible describes clearly what happens if one does not obey this precious and loving gospel:
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).
Obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ, means obeying Acts 2:38, the proper response to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).
We must take heed to not miss out on our promised land.