Q&A
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 10:34 AM

Why wasn't Moses allowed into the Promised Land?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 10:34 AM
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 10:34 AM

In Numbers, specifically 20:24 --Aaron died on Mount Hor and was stripped of his garments and then placed on his son Eleazar because he and Moses rebelled against the Lord at the water of Meribah. What was the rebellion? I couldn't find it. And why couldn't they just do a forgiveness or sin offering? After everything they had done for the Lord, couldn't the Lord forgive these two important people? Is this the same rebellion that the Lord would not permit Moses into the Promised Land for? I need to understand why GOD was so harsh on two beloved servants?

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Lets first start with your question on what was the rebellion. We see the Lord tell Moses and his brother Aaron, the High Priest, to go before the people and to SPEAK to the rock, and it would pour forth water for the people.
Numbers 20:7&8
7 The LORD said to Moses, 8 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.
Now that we have seen the Lord give specific direction to Moses and to Aaron lets see what they instead chose to do:
Numbers 20:10-12
10 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? 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out...
Moses and Aaron were commanded by God to speak to the rock and the water would come out. In the presence of the people of God Moses and Aaron loose their temper at the people and instead decide to do it their own way. They strike the rock and the water comes out. This is in clear violation of what they were commanded to do by the Lord.
So this is the sin that placed both Moses and Aaron on the outside of the Promised Land. The sin was not that they hit a stone with a rod but that they disobeyed the Lord in front of the people. You have asked why they could not simply be forgiven for this and still be allowed into the Promised Land. The first thing to realize is how serious God takes obedience and how when a man is placed in doing God's work especially as a leader, he is held to a higher standard then others. He is held to this standard because he knows what he should do and may choose not to. Secondly, nowhere is it said that they were not forgiven for what they did. They were allowed to continue to lead the Israelites until the time that they were to head into the Promised Land. God did forgive His servants. We must be very careful though not to confuse forgiveness with a lack of consequence. If we ask God to forgive us our sins He will, but that does not mean that we will now be free from all consequence of our choices. God can absolutely forgive a man that commits murder for the life that he took. However, this does not mean that God will keep him from being placed in jail as a consequence of his actions. The addict who has for years tormented his body with drugs can be forgiven for what he has done, but once again this does not mean that the person will not continue to deal with the mental and physical consequences of his choices. You asked why God would be so harsh on these two servants. He is not harsh, but just. He forgave his servants but could not allow them to enter the Promised Land when they had turned from his command.

 

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