Numbers 20, Psalms 58–59, Isaiah 9:8–10:4, James 3

DateVersionReading Plan
@May 11, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Numbers 20

Numbers 20:11–12 (ESV) 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”

The LORD told Moses to tell the rock at Meribah to yield its water (Num. 20:8), but Moses instead struck it twice. The water still came out but because Moses did not follow the His command, the LORD declared that Moses would not bring the assembly into the land He had given them. Worth noting in this instance, however, is that the LORD still allowed the water to come out of the rock despite Moses’ disobedience. And not only did the rock yield water, it came out abundantly for the congregation and their livestock to drink. The takeaway is thus twofold: 1) the LORD gives clear instruction and there are consequences for disobedience and 2) God is gracious to provide even though we respond to Him in rebellion.

Psalms 58–59

Psalm 59:16–17 (ESV) 16 But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. 17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.

Upon reading David’s words that “I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning”, the LORD put it on my heart to put on “O Praise His Name” and just start singing. On this joyous but very difficult day, how wonderful it is to sing praises to our God and fortress who shows me His steadfast love.

Isaiah 9:8–10:4

Isaiah 9:13 (ESV) 13 The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the LORD of hosts.

Israel was unfazed by the LORD’s previous judgments and proceeded in pride that they would build with dressed stones, sycamores and cedars (pp. Is. 9:12). The LORD responds by speaking through Isaiah that the “Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth.” (Is. 9:12). This is a telling verse of the depravity of man and his desire for autonomy. God had struck the people but they neither turned to Him nor inquired of Him. Instead, they sought to build on their own accord and to boast of their own abilities. How often we do this ourselves, having been corrected by God and yet still try to dictate our own path. Let us then take this to heart, to be attuned to God’s hand of discipline and align ourselves to His perfect plan.

James 3

James 3:17–18 (ESV) 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

In a chapter largely known for its treatment of the evil tongue of man, James also provides understanding on Godly wisdom. The wisdom from above is first pure, unstained as it derives from the One who is without any imperfection. Other virtues are then given, evidence of divine wisdom properly employed, yielding a harvest of righteousness sown in peace. Obtaining this wisdom entails an earnest seeking the Lord and desire for intimacy with Him, communing with Him in prayer and abiding in His Word.

Carson on Numbers 20

In light of 1 Corinthians 10:4, which shows Christ to be the antitype of the rock, it is hard to resist the conclusion that the reason God had insisted the rock be struck in Exodus 17:1–7, and forbids it here, is that he perceives a wonderful opportunity to make a symbol-laden point: the ultimate Rock, from whom life-giving streams flow, is struck once, and no more.

This is a fascinating observation that Moses was to strike the rock at Horeb (Exod. 17:1-7) but only speak to the rock that was near Kadesh-barnea in the wilderness of Zin (Num. 20:8). As Carson says, Jesus was struck only once and no more. By His being broken, He gave us streams of living water that we would be a people ever refreshed in Him both now and forevermore.