555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

87. Why Did Moses Strike the Rock?

The account in Num. 20 very clearly shows that Moses disobeyed the divine command in striking the rock as he did. For the moment he apparently lost his faith, and his temper as well. He had been explicitly instructed to "speak unto the rock" (verse 8) instead of which he addressed the people in hasty and passionate words and smote the rock twice. (See Ps. 106:32, 33.) His whole attitude betrayed his doubt, not of God's power, but of his will to help a people who had been rebellious. Further, Moses was irreverent (see verse 12) in that his language and bearing detracted from the sanctity of the occasion and was therefore displeasing to God. He had been entrusted with a great enterprise and his perfect obedience to and implicit faith in God were indispensable. As the result showed, his failure involved serious consequences for the whole nation.