The Book of Numbers – Allowing our Trust in God to inform our Situations and Emotions

Numbers chapter 20 picks up thirty-seven years after the events in chapter 19, and the new generation of God’s chosen people have started falling into old patterns of sin. This chapter begins with the death of Miriam and ends with the death of Aaron. It also includes Moses’s attempt for the people to pass through Edom by peaceful negotiations but were met with rebuff and conflict. And we see Moses falter in obeying God and the consequence of his sin.

The whole Israelite community are at the Desert of Zin and they stayed at Kadesh. This is where Miriam passes away and is buried. There was no water for the people, and they gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They say, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” (v 3-5)

Notice that while they complained, they referred to themselves as the Lord’s community. They knew who they were, but did that knowledge play out when trials hit. Their words say they were the Lord’s, but their actions did not reflect the belief in that claim. Remember that the Lord kept providing them Manna for years on end, and even then, in the sight of no water, rather than pray for provision and trust in God, they chose to grumble. As I read this, it was a convicting reminder of how at times I behave the very same way. My words say that I am the Lord’s, and he is my provider but do my actions always reflect that truth. Am I quick to grumble and complain or turn to the Lord before I do anything else.

What do Moses and Aaron do when the people complain?

“Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them.” (v 6)

What does God instruct them to do?

“The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that 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.” (v 7-8) (emphasis added)

What does 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 and their livestock drank.” (v 9-11)

Partial obedience is not obedience to God.

Does Moses follow God’s instruction, he kind of does. Moses takes the staff and gathers the people as God tells him to. God tells him to speak to the rock. If Moses was only to speak to the rock, why did he have to take the staff. If we look back at Num 17:10, when God made Aaron’s staff bud and blossom, it was to be kept at the tabernacle as a ‘sign for rebels’. And so, by holding the staff, it was meant to be a reminder to the people of their rebellious behaviour.

Moses addresses the people, he says, “Listen you rebels, must we bring you water out of the rock” and proceeds to strike the rock twice. In this sentence of Moses, we get a glimpse into the frustration and exhaustion he might have felt when the people complained again. What did that frustration lead to, disobeying God. We see a willful neglect of following God’s instructions when he strikes the rock not once but twice. And neither do we see Aaron stop Moses and say, this is not what God told us to do.

Take note that when God instructs Moses to speak to the rock, Moses would speak, and water would gush out. God then goes on to say, you will bring water out of the rock. The Lord would enable it to happen through Moses. When Moses speaks to the people, he says; must we bring you water. Where is the mention of God making it happen.  Moses was the instrument, but it was God who would make the water come from the rock. When we are mere instruments of the hand of God, all glory needs to point to Him. We might think it absurd to think that such a feat was anything else other than God, but if we look back at Exodus 32, remember how easily they worshipped the golden calf. So, how easy would it be to think that either Moses made it happen or the staff held some sort of power. Also take note that the people when they complained said ‘Why did you bring us into this wilderness’, they seem to direct their attention to Moses instead of God and Moses’s words that ‘must we bring water’ only feeds into their perception.

After what Moses and Aaron did, God speaks to Moses “Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”(v12)

From God’s words to Moses, we understand that within Moses’s heart there was a lack of trust. And having the privilege of the role that Moses had and how close he walked with the Lord, he also had a profound responsibility to honour him as holy through all he does.

Moses allowed the people, the situation and his frustration in that moment to inform his trust and obedience to God.   

How important it is for us to ensure that we do not allow our challenges to chip away at our trust but instead to let our trust in God weaken the frustration and fear that our trials cause.

Consider the importance of taking captive every thought that could lead away from sincere and pure devotion to God.

Even though Moses faltered and endured consequences, it did not cause him to fall out of fellowship with God.

Lord, you have called us, your children and we are yours, may not only our words but also our actions reflect that truth. In this world, there are many things that draw our attention away from you. May we remember that we have to guard our hearts and our minds, so they remain focused on you Lord. Help us to take every thought captive that could lead us away from complete devotion to you.

God Bless.

40 thoughts on “The Book of Numbers – Allowing our Trust in God to inform our Situations and Emotions

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  1. You are right – we often allow our circumstances to weaken our faith and trust in God. But it should be the other way around. When we are facing a difficulty, our faith and trust should make our circumstances appear to shrink in size. This really convicted me too because I often allow difficulties to overwhelm me and frustrate me. Thank you so much for the reminder to guard our hearts and minds and take every thought captive. A very encouraging post, Manu! Blessings, my friend! 🦋

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I too tend to do that Bridget, allow other things to affect my trust. It is hard but the point is to stay intentional in allowing our trust to inform everything else.
      Thank you my friend and blessings 💙💐

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing this great example, that partial obedience, is not obedience. Partial obedience only reveals our lack of trust in the Lord. We may not always understand why God instructs us to do something, but nevertheless, we have to step out in faith and trust Him that the results will be for our good and the good of others. Blessings Manu! 💐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So very true. We may not always understand what God says and it is quite hard to Joey when we do not but we are called to trust in Him.
      Thank you Dawn. Have a wonderful weekend 💙💐

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I so needed this today! I am facing some circumstances that I cannot solve on my own. There are a lot of unknowns, and I find myself wanting to try to account for every possibility when I know I can’t and God is simply asking me to trust Him. I’ve asked my mom and husband to pray for me and this situation, as I know I just need God to guide me and to trust Him in the uncertainty. But the struggle is real! Anyway, this was such a good reminder. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad this message helped you today. I pray that whatever you are facing, you can take it to God and rest in his sovereignty, his plan for you and his presence with you. May he give you peace and wisdom to know what to do.
      Blessings to you my friend 💙💐

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great teachings as usual Manu. I hadn’t considered what was going through Moses’s heart and mind as it relates to honouring God and ascribing glory to him. For it was God who brought forth the water and not Moses as indeed the people often exalted him. He was both frustrated and walking in error as to not point them back to God. He did at times try to bridge the gap but the people ran away and begged Moses to never again allow God to speak to them out of fear. We could say that they had the classic slavery mentality which remained despite their freedom from bondage. Bless you and have a great weekend. 🙏🏾❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thbknyou Anneta. Yes, I do think he was frustrated and maybe Miriam’s death would have also had him feeling very differently. That classic slavery mentality- a good point you make there.
      God bless 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Manu, Your post was timely for me, reminding me not to let worry and fear overwhelm me instead, to always put my trust in God. I find myself dwelling on worries and concerns I need to release to God.
    Great advice; we need to always keep our focus on the Lord. Blessings! 💗🦋🌺

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. I thought so bc of part of your comment yesterday where you said you talk to him. If you didn’t figure it out, my post is about my husband and he’s not a believer. I feel much better today though. Thank you God for my WordPress friends!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Marla, I have a couple of friends whose spouses do not believe. One of them finds it very challenging. The other not so much as he is happy for his wife and kids to go to church but just does not want any part of it.
        May the Lord meet your needs emotionally and spiritually each day. If it is ok with you, I will keep you in prayer and also pray for your hubby to come to know the Lord as his Lord and saviour.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh Marla, sending you love and hugs.
        This verse popped up on my Bible app just after I saw your message. Sometimes we just need to focus on his greatness and goodness to stir hope and faith anew.
        “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. (‭‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭29‬‬:‭11‬ ‭NLT‬‬)


  6. Yes, I have been in similar situations when I grumbled first instead of trusting God to provide. What a refreshing reminder of God’s Word. He is faithful to provide our needs. And may we always point back to Him the glory that He deserves.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good insight, Manu! And I love this takeaway:

    ‘How important it is for us to ensure that we do not allow our challenges to chip away at our trust but instead to let our trust in God weaken the frustration and fear that our trials cause.’

    Sooo good!!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. We have so many distractions to thank for getting our hearts and minds off trusting in God. Our flesh is so easily led, it would seem. It’s so important to follow after the Spirit, even in our frustrations. To seek to be fully obedient to His leadings. Much blessings, my friend! 💜 Well written!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Renee. It is so easy to be led by our frustrations and emotions. May we indeed seek to be obedient to His leading at all times. Thank you my friend. Have a wonderful weekend 💙💐

      Liked by 1 person

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