The Lord said to Moses, “.. 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 … gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you 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.
Even though Moses disobeyed and struck the rock instead of speaking to it God performed a miracle and blessed the people. It is easy to assume, when we see miracles or great things happening in a ministry or through a minister, that it is God’s seal of approval upon that ministry. Obviously miracles, growing budgets or burgeoning pews can’t be taken as a sign of God’s approval of all that is happening in a ministry. Think of the many national church leaders who have fallen in the last number of years. Most were seeing great things happen in their churches even while they were wallowing in sin.
Conversely, think of the Apostle Paul, sitting abandoned in a prison cell having had his life and freedom stripped from him. All he could do was write a few little letters to friends and churches where he had served before. Going through struggles and loss also is no indicator that God has abandoned us or that what we are doing is of no value.
God is gracious and for the sake of his people often blesses those who are living in disobedience. And, living in obedience often leads to hardship and trials. But don’t be deceived, character still matters. Moses still “looked good” in front of the people because God covered for his sin. But, he paid a big price for his disobedience – he was not permitted to recieve the inheritance he had been promised and worked so hard to attain.
Character still matters. Obedience still matters. The fruit of the spirit in our lives still matters. Don’t ever think hardship is a sign God has left you or that blessing is God’s stamp of approval on disobedience.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
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