I was reading about God's prophet Moses the other day in Exodus 20:1-12...
1 Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.
2 And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.
3 And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!
4 And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
5 And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.
6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.
7 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
8 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.
9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him.
10 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?
11 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.
12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.(KJV)
For generation after generation the children of Israel had been looking toward the land God had promised to Abraham. Now, here they were so close to that land of promise and Moses was the one who was to lead them into the land of milk and honey. It was a glorious moment in their history. Imagine you are Moses! One minute you are the God chosen leader of a nation on the verge of leading the people into the realization of a long sought dream and the next minute you're not. One minute you will be one of those going into the promised land and the next minute you find out you will not only not be leading the people in, you won't even be going in. What a blow!
When we read the passage we see God told Moses to speak to the rock. Instead, he struck the rock twice. He did not do what God told him to do. He did it differently and God was displeased. Because Moses did not do what God told him to do, he was not going into the promised land.
Did God say to not strike the rock? No.
This is a classic lesson in how God tells people what they should not do. He tells people what not to do by telling them what to do. By telling Moses to speak to the rock and it would bring forth water He eliminated all other means of bringing forth water from the rock.
In another situation, Exodus 17:6, God told Moses to strike the rock to bring forth water. "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel."
Some might argue that Moses could have been reasonably expected to do what he had done before. However, that is human reasoning and logic. Human reasoning and logic is subject to interpretation. God's word is not. God expects His followers to do what he says; nothing more, nothing less. The Bible term for nothing more, nothing less is turn not aside to the right hand, or to the left.
Here are some of the scriptures that warn us to do what God says and nothing more or nothing less...
(Deuteronomy 5:32 KJV) Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
(Deuteronomy 17:11 KJV) According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.
Deuteronomy 17:20 KJV) That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
(Deuteronomy 28:14 KJV) And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
(Joshua 1:7 KJV) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.
(Joshua 23:6 KJV) Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
How then can we be sure we go neither "to the right or to the left" in pleasing God? By relying only on God's Word rather than men and carefully examining it to see whether or not we are pleasing God or deceiving ourselves by believing men.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV) 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 NIV) 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie
12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
It is very important that we follow the scriptures and do what they say - nothing more and nothing less. There are many teachings that go directly against what the Bible says. Praying Jesus into your heart, addressing men as "Reverend" or "Father, praying to Mary and so on. Since these things are not found in the Bible they are "teachings of men" and are vain, empty or useless worship. Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7.
Dear Reader, we invite you to compare your relationship, and ours, to the word of God. It is in both our best interests.
(2 Timothy 2:15 NIV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Or, as the King James Version says..
(2 Timothy 2:15 KJV) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
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