“Because you did not believe” – this is what the LORD said to Moses! We prove whether or not we believe God by what we do: whether we have listened carefully to His word! Near enough, is not good enough! It is important that we understand why the LORD said these words to Moses in Numbers 20.
Once again, nearing the end of their wilderness journeying, the Israelites are put to the test by the lack of water for themselves and their flocks – and they fail the test. After all their experiences of God providing for their basic needs they should have known better than to complain about the lack of water.
They say to Moses, “Why have you made us come out of Egypt to this evil place? … there is no water to drink”. So the glory of God appears and the Lord speaks to Moses, “Take the staff and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle” (Numbers 20:8).
So they gather before the rock, it must have been a huge one, and Moses says, “‘Hear now you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?’ and Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly …” (verses 10,11).
Moses had not done exactly what he had been told to do, he had been told to speak to the rock! Nor had he credited this miracle to God. This is what caused God to say, “Because you did not believe in me to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people … you shall not bring this assembly into the land” (verse 12).
God expects us to do what He says and surely the same principle applies when it comes to matters like baptism. Those who say it is sufficient to sprinkle water on the forehead should heed the example of Moses’ mistake. There would only be one church if we would fully apply our minds to God’s words, but it seems these things have to be in order to sift the wheat from the chaff.