12Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go up to this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the sons of Israel. 13When you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was; 14for in the wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water." (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)
- Numbers 27:12-14
After having led the people in the wilderness for 40 years; after bringing them to the point of entering into the Promised Land that they had waited for for so long, Moses is told by God to go to the top of a mountain and look at the land that the people would go to but he would not.
God tells him that he will not enter into the Promised Land with the people because of one sin that he had committed earlier in the desert. In Numbers 20:1-13 we read that while they were in the wilderness the people lacked water and they threatened to rebel if they did not get any. Moses asked God for help and the Lord said to Moses that he should speak to a rock and the water would come forth. In his anger and pride, Moses struck the rock twice with his rod instead. God caused the water to flow anyways but charged Moses with disobedience.
Because of this one sin, Moses was prevented from entering the land that he had led the people towards for 40 years. Moses was the greatest Jewish leader, he received the 10 commandments, he interceded for the people time and time again but because of this one transgression he did not enter in. This ending to his life teaches us several important lessons about how God feels concerning sin:
1. God is so holy that even one sin keeps you out of His presence.
The Promised Land was symbolic of the promise of heaven, and this episode shows us that God will not tolerate sin in His presence. God will receive only those who are sinless into the promised land of heaven.
2. There is no such thing as a small sin or harmless sin.
Moses did not rape or kill; he tapped the rock instead of speaking to the rock. And yet, God denied him entrance because of it. God hates all forms of sin, no type of sin is less despicable or tolerable in His sight.
3. Coming "close" is not good enough when it comes to heaven.
Moses came close, he was on the border, he could actually see the land, but he did not enter in. Being a nice guy, being a moral person, doing your best will only get you close to heaven. Moses was all these things; the Bible says he was the most humble man in the world. But one sin kept him out of the Promised Land and nothing could change that.
Here's my point:
Like Moses and the children of Israel, we are on a long journey. Our journey is through the wilderness of life on this earth with its hardships, dangers and struggles. Like Moses and the Jews we all want to arrive at and enter into the promised land of heaven.
My question is this: What sin will keep you out?
For many it will be the sin of disobedience. They will not obey the gospel of Christ in order to be saved. They will put it off. They will think that they are really okay and don't need to obey. They will rely on their own religion or way of being saved that is not exactly biblical but close enough. But in the end they will be disobedient and refuse to simply confess Jesus, repent of their sins and be baptized like Jesus commands them to be in Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38. And because of this disobedience they will not enter in.
For some it will be the sin of unfaithfulness. They have travelled toward the heavenly land for a while but the cares of this world and its activities and riches of this world have distracted them and made them abandon their journey and want to settle here. Because of this disobedience they will get their wish, they will stay here and enjoy the pleasures of the world for a while but they will be destroyed along with it in the end.
Are one of these sins going to keep you out of the heavenly home that God has prepared for His faithful children? If so, be rid of it so you can enter in when the time comes.
- Stop your disobedience and be baptized for the remission of your sins.
- Stop your unfaithfulness and laziness and be restored to a right relationship with God by confessing your sins and praying that God forgive you.
Don't let anything stop you from entering in. This is my prayer for you this week.
- What "small" sin in your life is hard to overcome?
- God doesn't require perfection, but what does He require when it comes to our sins?
- Describe the struggle and solution that every Christian experiences that Paul explains in Romans 7:14-8:1.