Numbers 20


Spend time in prayer and silence with God asking him to meet you and speak to you.

Bible Reading

“In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.

Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “‘If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”‘

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them.

The Lord said to Moses, “‘Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”‘

So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as He commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “‘Listen, you rebels, must we bring water out of this rock?”‘

Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “‘Because you did not trust in Me enough to honor Me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”‘

These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where He showed Himself holy among them.”

– Numbers 20:1-13


This chapter introduces the third and last movement of God’s people on their way to the Promised Land. Once again we find the people murmuring against God’s anointed leaders.

This time the focus is on Moses’s’ failure to reflect God’s character in that he was ungracious in his attitude toward the people.

Because of his failure as a leader, Moses would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Here we see the devastating consequences of sin.

The Big Question

How has sin – your own and the sins of others – affected your life? If you are a leader in Christ’s church, how has sin hindered your ability to lead others?

What does this passage tell us about God’s attitude toward sin?

Conclude in prayer and silence reflecting on what you’ve learned.