Psalm 105 is a psalm of praise and honor to the God who brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts” (Psalm 105:1-2). The psalm goes on to list mighty and awesome acts. But He also caused perils to come for rebelliousness and unbelief.
We read in Psalm 105:41, “He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert.” I love this miracle and image of “streams in the desert” (Isaiah 32:2). This verse is an image the prophet brings of the Kingdom of Righteousness, a refuge from the storm for His people. My favorite devotional book written by L.B. Cowen is called Streams in the Desert. He wrote in the preface a Personal Word:
“In the pathway of faith we come to learn that the Lord’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways. Both in the physical and spiritual realm, great pressure means great power! Although circumstances may bring us into a place of death, that need not spell disaster-for if we trust in the Lord and wait patiently, that simply provides the occasion for the display of His almighty power. “Remember His marvelous works that He hath done; His wonder, and the judgments of His mouth.” (Psalm 105:5 KJV).
These words are prophetic and true for the believer. As we go back to the verse regarding the water gushing from the rock in the desert, it brings a vision of God’s grace and merciful provision for us in our trials of life. Yet there is much more to it as we read of the event in the Numbers 20:7-13 historical narrative. Aaron and Moses came to the entrance of the tent of meeting to seek the Lord’s help and God responded saying, “’Take your staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly. Speak to the 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.’” Here is a miracle in the waiting. So what did Moses do? “So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as He commanded him. 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?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community drank…But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron. “Because you did not trust in Me enough to honor Me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I gave them.’”
Moses had disobeyed the Lord’s command. Why? We don’t know, but perhaps it was distrust, or overzealousness. It might have been to dramatize the event. Whatever his motivation, it was disobedient and would have major consequences, known to all creation. In fact, Moses did not lead the Israelites across the Jordan. He died and was secretly buried so no one would know where his grave was placed that he might be honored. God is very serious about sin and disobedience. He wants us to trust and obey in all things.
We are a rebellious people like the Israelites. We follow our own plans when God’s are better. God in this case allowed the water to flow so that the people would not perish, but there would be consequences. There always will be consequences for disobedience to His will and word.
I have suffered consequences for my disobedience often. I lost my career for behavior outside of God’s will, even though on a worldly basis I succeeded in a major way. God is interested in our following His way. That is why I have written the book This is The Way, Walk in It. This 2-volume book identifies in essay or sermon how God wants us to walk in His ways all the days of our lives. Honor God and “trust in Him with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:4-5).