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In a discussion about Satan, Martin Luther once said:

"Satan is easy to recognize. He is the one that comes to you when you are tired and makes a reasonable request."

I can identify with that statement. I believe Jesus knew this tactic of Satan because Satan came to tempt Him: at the beginning of His ministry, after He had fasted forty days, while He was in the wilderness. Even when Satan departed from the temptation Luke tells us it was, "…for a season." He left but was watching for a more opportune moment.

Satan and his minions are aware of the moments of our lives. They seek a time when we are vulnerable to temptation. There may be moments when life is difficult or there may be moments when life is dull. We may be hurting emotionally or physically but like the lion circling the herd of antelope our Adversary is watching. He would love to convince you that no one else is as tired, or stressed, or misunderstood as you. Since life is so hard and since God has seemingly forgotten you, it is somehow justified for you to indulge yourself.

In Numbers 20:1-13 Moses is at a place of great weariness and frustration in his life. He is no doubt physically tired and almost assuredly emotionally vulnerable. He makes a sinful choice that will have severe consequences. What were his circumstances when he struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock?

He had been in the wilderness for two years with Israel who were in large measure a complaining stiff-necked people. In unbelief they had refused to go into the Promised Land and they were wandering in the wilderness of Sinai. In addition to that Miriam, his sister, had just died and he had a grieving heart. At the same time, they once again were facing a lack of water and as usual the people were whining and complaining. They had been in a similar situation before, and God had proven Himself faithful to provide their need. But instead of remembering the goodness and grace of God they do what people often do. They get upset because life is not going as they desire, and they start complaining and blaming

We must understand that God has allowed the circumstances that brought Moses and Israel to this point. The lack of water is not a surprise to God nor is He searching about frantically for some way to provide for His people. He wants to teach something wonderful and use Moses in a great way. He wants Moses to provide a wonderful picture of Christ. There is a rock in the desert. They had already received water from another rock when they were previously in a similar situation. God had instructed Moses to smite the first rock. When he did precious life-giving water poured forth. The picture of Moses striking the rock was a picture of Christ being smitten for us. He died once for all men and for all sin. (Hebrews 9:23-28)

Moses on this occasion is instructed to speak to the rock not to strike it. Moses heard what the Lord said and departed to do it. When they arrived at the rock Moses had venom in his voice and anger in his heart. Notice he calls them "rebels.” God had called them the "assembly" and the "congregation." Then Moses says, "Must we fetch..." It was no longer God working but Moses. Moses was angry, Moses felt put upon, Moses, Moses, Moses. Moses had lost his composure and the enemy sees an opportunity to strike. Unguarded and vulnerable Moses yields to his flesh and in a fit of temper strikes the rock in disobedience to God's command. Once he strikes the rock, but no water comes forth, so a second time the rod comes down, striking the Rock, and God in spite of Moses lets the water flow.

Quietly, God calls Moses and Aaron aside and lets them know because of their unbelief they will not go into the Promised Land. I am sure there were many times after this moment when Moses reviewed in his mind that one unguarded and vulnerable moment where he felt justified to disobey and assert his will over God's.

Be careful of unguarded moments when we can be so vulnerable to the enemy's deception and attack. Times when we are tired, angry, confused, frustrated, bored and many others that we can experience. Those brief indulgences of our flesh may cost us more than we can imagine.


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