Sticks and Stones, and Words Can Certainly Harm You

Nearing the end of the wandering in the desert Moses was inbetween another rock and a hard place, literally. The first incidence Moses was told to strike the rock once at the beginning of the years out in the desert yet this time the Lord's instructions were different,

(Numbers 20:8-13) “Take the staff and assemble the community. You and your brother Aaron are to speak to the rock while they watch, and it will yield its water. You will bring out water for them from the rock and provide drink for the community and their livestock.” So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence just as He had commanded him. Moses and Aaron summoned the assembly in front of the rock, and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels! Must we bring water out of this rock for you?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff, so that a great amount of water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust Me to show My holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord, and He showed His holiness to them.

It is assumable that Moses got angry and in a moment of distrust and failure to represent God to the people well he blew it badly. As a result the consequences were irreversable. The Israelites did the same early on by refusing to do as God commanded and take out the giants in Caanen, they distrusted God would give them victory and focused more on the size of their giagantic problems then the power of God, and here Moses lapses and distrusts God by what appears to be flat out disobedience as well as a possible outburst of anger.

There is another story like this in the Storytellers divine play, he scripts another scene with His own Son out in the desert/wilderness where the devil tempts him to use his power as the Son of God to step out of God's will to do what he wanted, namely "turn these stones into bread"

(Matthew 4:1-4) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Do to the way scripture gives an account of this, we can assume this temptation took place toward the end of the fast, and Jesus had the power yet refused to use it in a way to dishonor the Father, by eating on his fast. Satan seems to come to tempt Christ nearing the end of the fast so Jesus would be weak and hungry. The devil is opportunistic and will often wait till there is a worn down person of faith trying to finish the last leg of a season of testing and from my experience in my own trials, they get especially hard near the very end.

Like Moses, he was tired and had been in the wilderness a long while and unlike Moses, Christ got straight A's all the way.
What can we learn here?

1.) Jesus did not buy into the temptation, Satan tried to remind Jesus he had the power to make it happen and Jesus quoted back by "it is written"

A.) In the other temptations Satan does use scripture itself as a weapon against Jesus yet Jesus swings back with "The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God"

So the devil knew scripture but used it wrongly, Jesus requoted truth of God's Word in right context and interpretation.

2.) Sometimes the toughest part of a trial and test is at the end of the class of a season of suffering, and there may be a final. Jesus passes all three tests in the wilderness and did not fail like Moses did unfortunately. See how the Lord said to Moses, "You will not lead these people into the land I swore to give them" yet since Christ passed the temptation he has become qualified to lead us into eternal life!

(Hebrews 4:14-16) Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

In order for Jesus to be pur sin offering he could not have ever sinned once, and he did not.

The Lord's final test was on the cross and that is where he makes victory over our tests possible!


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