…and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
It takes courage to live as a believer, the exception to that of the world, and the goal is that God is honored in life and in death, for all that is done. In following this way of living before others…
1 Peter 3:13-17
13 And who will harm you if you are passionate for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, 15 but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 16 However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
God is honored in such a way where others can see Him as holy in how we are living our lives. It is God speaking through you. Through your reverence of Him, you make God look good to the observers, and He becomes desirable to others. When we do not honor Him with our behavior, it is a poor testimony to those who would observe us.
Moses wanted to step into the promised land with Joshua and Caleb, and desired it very much, yet he missed the promise because of sin and a lack of faith. God punished Moses, even publicly, and told him that he could not go there. Everyone in Israel observed this, and it caused Moses to be hurt and ashamed, and pleaded with the Lord (Deuteronomy 3:23-28). In fact, God told Moses to encourage Joshua to lead the people, and without complaint. In the same way, your public sin may cause you to be punished publicly. Ultimately, it is when we fail to honor God with our actions and our behavior that are outside of God’s Word.
What was the tipping point of Moses’ sin that resulted in his punishment? Most commentaries lead to the following:
2 There was no water for the community, so they assembled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The people quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD. 4 Why have you brought the LORD’s assembly into this wilderness for us and our livestock to die here? 5 Why have you led us up from Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It’s not a place of grain, figs, vines, and pomegranates, and there is no water to drink!”
6 Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting. They fell down with their faces [to the ground], and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. 7 The LORD spoke to Moses, 8 “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.”
Moses was arguing with a new generation of Israelites, and he had gone through this before (Exodus 17:2-7). Here, the children’s sin is the same as that of their fathers. The children had not even been to Egypt! Moses was told by God to SPEAK to the rock (not strike it as he was commanded to do before in Exodus 17). The purpose was for God to show to the people something that they needed to see in order to grow their faith. The people were ultimately not quarreling with Moses–they were quarreling with God (Exodus 17:2-4, 7; Numbers 20:2-5, 13). It is important for you to know who the real battle is against when dealing with matters pertaining to the Lord. Listen to what the Lord has to say to you in every situation. Even if the circumstances are the same, you still need to make sure that you are listening to how to respond to Him.
The people in Exodus 17 and in Numbers 20 were asking the same question…will God take care of us? Moses was to allow the people to see God’s power in speaking to the rock, but he took it upon himself, which was contrary to God’s instruction:
9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence just as He had commanded him. 10 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?” 11 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.
12 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.”
Moses was not gentle with the people, and his anger, frustration and resentment of the people overshadowed what God had intended as His testimony; as a result, God made it clear that Moses failed to trust in the Lord and honor Him as holy, and Moses was reprimanded and punished.
14 When the community quarreled in the Wilderness of Zin, both of you rebelled against My command to show My holiness in their sight at the waters.” Those were the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin.
The way that you live, act, and speak can either honor God or dishonor Him. If you make a testimony that God is to be honored and your actions reflect the exact opposite, you are contradicting your own words and removing focus on the holiness of God and His importance and relevance in your life. For as you live for the Lord, or choose not to live for Him, others will see the example to follow.
Your faith and my obedience to the Lord will take you to places that you can only begin to imagine. It starts with the way you are living for Him and honoring Him in everything that you do. You are a servant of the living God and an ambassador for Jesus Christ. Your honor is received in honoring Him in your work for everyone to see.