Moses knew how to get water out of a rock. At Marah, recorded in Exodus 15, God told Moses to tap the rock with his staff, and when he did, water came rushing out. Enough water to satisfy the nation of Israel in the middle of a desert.
Now the Jews, who must be the definition of short-term memory loss, were thirsty again. They did what they always did when things got tough – they complained. So once again Moses asks God what to do.
This time, God tells him to go up to the rock and speak to it. Water will come.
Why Moses decided to tap the rock we can only guess. We do know it worked once before. Maybe he assumed tapping the rock was part of God’s water-from-the-rock formula and just neglected to mention it.
But did you read what Moses said before tapping the stone? “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock.”
First of all, God had said nothing about touching the rock. And secondly, how dare Moses take credit for the miracle. “We” are bringing the water? Oh, Moses.
God’s instructions were clear. Speak to the rock, Moses. Then God would bring the water out of the rock. I think God wanted the Jews to learn an important lesson, that God is who He says He is, that He has supreme control, and they can trust Him.
Moses prevented the Jews from seeing that lesson when he took matters into his own hands. His disobedience hid God’s power. And his words put the focus on himself, rather than on the God of miracles.
You might wonder, if touching the rock was such a big deal, why didn’t God explain that to Moses when He was giving instructions? Surely if God had been specific, Moses would not have tapped the rock.
But, dear one, God doesn’t need to explain Himself. His instructions were clear. And Moses should have obeyed for the simple reason that God had spoken.
Do you have kids who ask “Why” a thousand times a day? Do you feel obligated to give them an explanation every time? Maybe it’s time we all learned the lesson Moses is teaching us here. Sometimes the answer is, “Because I said so.”
Is God asking you to do something, talk to someone, forgive someone, take a step of faith? If God is instructing you, don’t wait around for an explanation. He doesn’t owe you one. If He’s telling you to do something, do it.
Just because He said so.