Numbers 20:2-8

During the Lenten season, members of Faith Lutheran Church have written our daily devotions.  Today’s writer is Alan Balius.


2Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and against Aaron. 3The people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had died when our kindred died before the Lord! 4Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness for us and our livestock to die here? 5Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to bring us to this wretched place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink.” 6Then Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting; they fell on their faces, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 8Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and command the rock before their eyes to yield its water. Thus you shall bring water out of the rock for them; thus you shall provide drink for the congregation and their livestock. Numbers 20:2-8


It’s amazing!  The same Israelites who God rescued from slavery in Egypt have a laundry list of objections to God’s provisions for them in the wilderness—there are no figs, vines, pomegranates, and now there appears to be no water.  This is not turning out the way anyone—not even Moses and Aaron—had expected.  But the brothers waited faithfully for the Lord’s direction:  Strike a rock with the staff—the same staff that led the Israelites through the Red Sea—and water will flow forth for the Israelites and their animals.


Drawing water from a rock would be even more significant if it had changed the people’s scornful attitudes to praise and thanksgiving, but here’s a quote from Numbers 21:5, one chapter later:   “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.”  To paraphrase:  “Hey, Moses, what have you done for us lately?” 


It’s easy for me, and perhaps for you, to look with amazement and ridicule at the Hebrews who quarreled with Moses and with God; however, if I’m honest, I see myself not faithful as Moses, but as full of fear and faithlessness as the grumbling Israelites.  It’s always a lot easier to complain than to be thankful, but God calls us to faithfulness, praise, and thanksgiving.  After all, we are still precious in the sight of the One who loves us in spite of our daily grumblings.  Let’s begin and/or end this day with praise.


Let us pray:  Gracious God, you are the God of our salvation, the Creator of the universe.  We think of ourselves as faithful and content, but we’re often faithless and covetous.  Strike our hearts so that love will flow forth for all people.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


3 Responses to “Numbers 20:2-8”

  1. kirk childress Says:

    A Men

  2. Carolee Groux Says:

    I join you in this prayer as I too am often faithless and covetous, rather than faithful and content. May we show love to others as God showed to us. Praise His Holy Name. Amen.

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