Numbers 20

Review & Remarks: Miriam, sister of Aaron, passes away (v. 1) … Wandering Israel thirsts for water and bemoans their absence from Egyptian wheat and fruits to Moses and Aaron (vv. 2-5) … I painfully experienced, for years as a project manager, the complaints of team members when the inevitable controversies befell us … My leadership was always questioned … I question my leadership, always have, still do … I discovered leaders are always to blame … At the same time, a leader never discovers the true character of his or her troops when things are going well … I’m not sure tough situations build character, but they reveal it … Returning, Moses and Aaron visit the LORD at the tabernacle with His glory appearing to them (v. 6) … The LORD speaks to Moses (only?) telling him to speak to a prominent rock before Israel and it will spew needed waters for them and their animals (vv. 7-8) … Moses does as instructed with self-aggrandizement – he shows his temper, he strikes the rock with his staff twice instead of talking to it and water, indeed, abundantly flows from it (vv. 9-11) … Moses is then schooled for disobedience, unbelief, displaying a bad temper, and for glorifying himself rather than YHWH in front of Israel … Israel’s punishment, in Meribah, is not being allowed into the land given them (vv. 12-13) … Aaron, being with Moses, suffers consequences as well. He is stripped of his position, his priestly garments are given to his son Eleazer and he dies (vv. 23-29) … From the human perspective the offenses of Moses and Aaron are easily understood – they are frazzled! … I believe from the divine perspective they are understood as well … Jesus knows us … Even so, understanding a problem does not mean it’s results are not experienced, that there are no repercussions … It is believed the result of this problem is an added 38 years (cp. Deut. 2:14) of life “On The Road” … Along their way, Moses contacts the king of Edom, telling of Israel’s hardships, wanting to pass through his land, apparently a short cut, by way of the King’s Highway (vv. 14-17) … His request is denied under the threat of being attacked, even with Moses’ promise to travel on foot, to take nothing from the land or pay for any taken resources (vv. 18-21) … Instead, Israel detours their trip from Kadesh, around Edom, to Mount Hor (v. 22) … The whole of this passage is marked by wrongs, ancients called them sins … This we can say, wrongs or sins create delays and more worn sandals.