Life of Moses: Even Good Men Sin & Die

Peter Barnes: Numbers 20

(10 November 2019)


– Numbers 20 resembles the complaints about the lack of water back in Exodus 17 – not much has changed in 40 years. Psalm 90 is on the theme of sin and death, and comes from Moses – Ps.90:1-2, 8-12, 17.

1. The wages of sin is death.

– 20:1. Miriam dies – the older sister of Moses, the one who looked after him as a baby in the River Nile (Exodus 2), the prophetess who sang at the crossing of the Red Sea (Ex.15:20-21), and also the one who rebelled against Moses on one occasion (Numbers 12).

– 20:22-29; Aaron also dies. Aaron was the high priest, but he capitulated to idolatry in the Golden Calf apostasy (Exodus 32) and he joined his sister in rebelling against their brother, Moses (Num.12).

2. Dealing with churlish enemies.

– 20:14-21. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin. The Israelites were to treat the Edomites in a brotherly way – Deut.23:7. For us, note Rom.12:18.

3. The sin of God’s servant.

– 20:2-5. Verse 6 tells us that the glory of the Lord appeared. The Lord then commands Moses – 20:7-9. Nearly forty years back, in a similar situation, God had told Moses to strike the rock for water – Ex.17:1-7. But in Numbers 20:8 he is only told to talk to the rock.

– Moses was out of sorts – 20:10-13. Moses, the meekest of men (Num.12:3), he loses it here. See Psalm 106:32-33. Moses spoke rashly because he was not in control of himself. He was too turned in on himself – Num.20:10.

– the rock was Christ – 1 Cor.10:4; He was struck once – Isa.53:4; and from Him comes living water – John 4:13-14; 7:37-39. It fits. Deut. 8:3.