In Exodus 17, Moses was commanded to strike a rock at Horeb to provide water for God’s thirsty people. Because the mountains of the Sinai Peninsula are made of non-porous granite, Moses could only trust God for a miracle. When water gushed from the rock everyone knew it was a divine wonder. Including Moses.
Similarly this happened in Numbers 20 but this time God told Moses to speak to the rock. Moses, however, strikes it…incurring God’s judgment on himself. e would never be allowed in the Promised Land as a result.
Why? This time they were in the wilderness of Zin, where the rock is a porous type of limestone. As a shepherd, Moses would know water could be in these rocks. By striking it he is using his knowledge and not God’s supernatural power. Moses used an old shepherd’s trick, and God was not honored as the source of water.
Like rain, every life-sustaining necessity ultimately falls from heaven. The question left for us is, “Do we direct attention of those we serve to the source or do we sometimes use the ‘tricks’ of skills and strategies to accomplish heaven’s work?”