Waterfall - Larger than life

By Doug J. McKenzie
CEO for The Voice of the Martyrs Canada

I think we sometimes make the mistake of over-glorifying some of our favourite Biblical characters (other than Jesus, of course), nearly deifying these mere mortals. As stories and heroes unfold throughout the Holy Scriptures, we identify with the fallibility of those lifted up by the singular power and intervention of the Holy Spirit. More important, we know that without our Lord's salvation, made available by way of His empowerment, we are pitifully lost in sin.

Our awareness of such supernatural power is viewed through a dark lens of carnality by which we are miraculously enlightened. Against the backdrop of the Holy Scriptures, such exaggerated players add dimension and relatability to the story of the Gospel and to the envisioned roles that our ascribed men and women of the Bible portray. These roles reveal the ways by which modern-day Shakespearean-like purveyors of truth sloppily act out their faith on a world stage through the ancient yet pertinent texts that have been assembled and authorized by God Himself to guide us all into truth and knowledge.

We can all think of many such Biblical players, for those who truly love God and their neighbours are distinguishable -- despite their admitted failings -- by their relentless pursuit of God's truth and light, and genuine desire to serve others, particularly those who are persecuted for Jesus' sake. Genuine Christ-followers are earmarked by humility...a releasing of carnality and self-service in deference to the sharing of God's love. One such prominent character is Moses who was called and destined since infancy, and then later mightily used by God to free the children of Israel from years of brutal slavery and, subsequently, lead them to the Promised Land. Moses also became the most unlikely symbol of the unrelenting patience and love of our Heavenly Father by contrast to his own anger and frustration during Israel's wandering in the Wilderness of Zin.

Moses' frustration arose from the incessant complaints of the children of Israel regarding an acute lack of water. His response, though explainable in human terms, was nevertheless remarkable and completely uncharacteristic of the man whom we've all come to love and respect while reading about the ancient people's 40-plus years of wandering and the textual revelation of his exploits during that era. Read with me the following historical account on the life Moses, who at the time was in Kadesh, according to Numbers 20:1-12 (NKJV):

"Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the Wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh; and Miriam died there and was buried there. Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and Aaron.  And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: 'If only we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! Why have you brought up the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here?'

"Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.' So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him.

"And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, 'Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?' Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.

"Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.'"

So our hero in this example takes upon himself the right of indignation, as if the provision of water had been made by his own hand and from his own resources. God, on the other hand, was grieved over Moses' disobedience and the missed opportunity to demonstrate His grace and Fatherly love to His children. However, the Lord loved Moses to the extent that He would teach him to walk the path of righteousness, even if it required being refused entry into the Promised Land.

This same Moses -- once banished alone into the wilderness by the pharaoh of Egypt after willingly giving up an earthly kingdom to save his people -- was not (I suspect) being similarly banished by God from a heavenly paradise. Having learned a crucial lesson in humility, he may well have been set apart by and for God Himself.

As we consider the fallibility of the many human characters of God's Holy Scripture, let us never forget that although we love His children, we ultimately follow our Lord Jesus who -- despite our failings, and even while we were yet sinners -- loved and saved us for eternity.

In Christ,

Rippling Water