The Debacle At Meribah.

Transcript December 13

Introduction

Sunday Sermon Sunday 13th December, 2020 Topic: The Debacle At Meribah. Text: Num. 20:1-13. INTRODUCTION ‘The Debacle at Meribah’ is my own way of describing how a good journey could end badly, how a sweet experience could turn bitter and how a man destined to take God’s people to the promised was prevented from entering the promised land. My prayer for you is that your journey of joy will not turn sour in Jesus name. Amen. The journey from the land of Egypt, the land of bondage started well through the wilderness, the Red Sea, Elim-the place of 12 wells of water and 70 palm trees, (Exodus 15:27) Rephidim and Mount Sinai where they were given the Ten Commandments. After Mount Sinai, it was a galore of complaints, murmuring, dissensions and rebellion as the people moved from Hazeroth to the wilderness of Paran where spies were sent to spy the land of Canaan. (Num. 33: 5-36). But when they got to Meribah, there was a debacle. May your life journey not end in a debacle. Amen. WHAT A TEMPTATION? According to our passage, the children of Israel got to the wilderness of Zin and the people stayed in Kadesh where Miriam died and was buried. Because there was no water, the people gathered against Moses and Aaron and questioned why he brought them out of Egypt.(vs3-5) Moses and Aaron then did what was expected of every leader in a time of crisis; they went into the presence of God and the glory of God appeared to them. God then told Moses to take the rod, gather the congregation and speak to the rock and it will yield water.(v.6-8) But Moses gathered the people, lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with the rod and water came out abundantly and the people drank.(9-11) But the Lord took an offense at his action and thereby barred him from entering the promised land. (12) The place of contention was then called Meribah. May your journey to the promised land not comatose at Meribah. THE THREE GRAVE ERRORS. One question among many, people have asked is what was the actual offense of Moses that prevented him from entering the promised land. Some have even asked why was it difficult for the Lord who had forgiven the children of Israel many times before to forgive just one misdemeanor of Moses. In my study of this passage, the sin of Moses was the sin of error. A man who was under the influence of the spirit of error on his first assignment for a Chicago newspaper as a rookie reporter drove the company car to a car-crushing plant, but parked in the wrong spot. He later returned from interviewing the manager of the car-crushing plant just in time to see the vehicle being compacted into scrap metal. The spirit of error when in operation, makes a man to commit blunder or mistakes that will make him regret later in life. A single error or mistake can lead to destruction, untimely death and loss of exalted position among others. For example, a mistake by a pilot on a flight or a surgeon on the operating table can cost the lives of many. According to our passage considering what God instructed, what Moses did and what God said, I could see three grave errors of Moses. These are, 1. PARTIAL OBEDIENCE. Moses had failed in strict obedience. He was told to speak to the rock, but he struck the rock though He gathered the people as instructed. This shows the danger of departing in the least jot or title from any law of God. Probably, he was misled by precedent which could be a perilous guide. Moses had struck the rock before by God’s command and probably he argued that what was right then could not be wrong now. (Exo. 17:5-6) But let us remember, that “circumstances alter cases.” A thing which is wise for one time may be folly for another. Obedience of yesterday does not cover for today. God desires daily and full obedience. 2. EMOTIONAL IMBALANCES. Though Moses was once described as the meekest man on earth. (Num.12:3) But here, He had shown temper and used hard language. He called God’s people rebels. (v.10) This points to the immense importance attached to temperate speech, the necessity of keeping a check on our temper and not letting ourselves be moved to hot and angry words. Even when we are pushed, we must watch what comes out of our mouth. He who is able to control his tongue is a master of himself. 3. SELF AGGRANDIZEMENT. The third error is that of self-exaltation. Moses had taken to himself the credit of supplying the Israelites with water even when God had said he will bring water for the people.(vs.10,8)But his error was that he took the glory that was meant for God. It was God that was bringing water for the people not Moses. God was using him to achieve His purpose and he must not take the glory that belongs to God. No doubt, Moses erred. How often has his sin been repeated in our world today. There are errors of misjudgment, miscalculation, misrepresentation, misplacement etc. The spirit of error should be opposed and we must stop its progress as quickly as possible by persuasion and by prayer. We must beware of doing more than God commands as much as doing less. There are two opposite ways to sin namely, by defect and by excess. A child who in adding up a sum, makes it “come to too much,” blunders as completely as the one who made it “come to too little.” In the same vein, wrong-doing is possible spiritually by defect or by excess. We must not violate our duty as “followers of God,” by getting ahead of our Guide or by lagging behind that we could no longer see Him or follow in His steps. We must conquer the spirit of error be it that of impatience, self-aggrandizement, costly assumption or misguided precedence. CONCLUSION The summary of “The Debacle at Meribah” is that Moses did not attend carefully to God’s Word nor obey it, because he was angry. There was bitterness in his words. We must beware of the sin of anger. Galatians chapter 5 verse 20 tells us that “wrath” is one of the “works of the flesh.” In Proverbs 16:32, we are told that “he who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he that takes a city.” The more you conquer your sins no matter the deception, the more you will be growing like Christ. A Christian couple accidentally found their account credited with the sum of $120,000. Having consulted their lawyer, they took it as God’s blessings and went on a shopping spree. They purchased an SUV, a camper, and two four-wheelers in addition to paying off bills. Few weeks later, the bank discovered the error and told the couple to return the money. Unfortunately, the husband and wife had already spent it. They were then charged with felony theft. When the couple arrived at the local court, the husband said to a reporter, “We took some bad legal advice.” The two learned that following bad advice (and spending what wasn’t theirs) could lead to making a mess of their lives. May your life be free from errors. Heaven will be full of conquerors. Rev 12:11 tells us how they conquered: “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb.” May you conquer by the blood of the Lamb. Amen. Shalom.

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