“And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff; and much water came out, and the church and their cattle drank” ( Numbers 20:11 ).
This verse tells of a serious failure of Moses in preventing him from entering the land of Canaan (verse 12). It seems to me that in this verse all three mistakes of Moses are shown.
1. He hit the rock.
That was wrong. God had told him that he and Aaron should speak to the rock and the rock would give water (verse 8). The rock had been struck on an earlier occasion ( Exodus 17:6 ). And since the rock is a picture of Christ ( 1. Corinthians 10,4 ), it should stay with this one-time hitting: For Christ was hit once by God on the cross so that people could receive blessings. Whoever understands this belongs to the people of God. As of the people, we now speak to the rock, to Christ – and in this way we are blessed, refreshed and refreshed in our daily life.
2. He used the wrong staff.
But God had decreed that he should use Aaron’s staff on this occasion. For that was the rod that lay before God (verse 9). At first he took it in his hand (verse 10), but then he obviously took up his staff. Maybe because he didn’t want to destroy the blossoms of Aaron’s sprout rod. But he destroyed something worse: the divine image. The rod of Moses is the rod of judgment; it is the rod with which the river was struck in Egypt, turning water into blood ( Exodus 17:5). The Rod of Judgment became active on the cross of Calvary when God struck Christ for someone else’s guilt. But as believers in our daily life in the “desert” that is no longer the issue. This is about the priestly activity of Christ, as indicated by the rod of Aaron.
3. He hit twice.
That he hit the rock was wrong in itself, as we have seen. The fact that he hit him twice took it one step further. God never commanded that, not even in Exodus 17 . The reason is clear: Christ suffered once at the hand of God and not twice. Compare with Hebrews 9:24-28 .
Although the great man of God Moses was wrong here (not only in his deeds, but also in his words (v. 10)), God nevertheless caused the water to flow forth for the murmuring people. This is the great grace of God! We learn from this: If God brings blessings (and the water speaks of that), then that is still no proof that our actions are correct. And grace and government go together and are not mutually exclusive. The water did come out, but Moses had to face the consequences of his actions. He wasn’t allowed into the country.