Moses' sin
In a recent e-mail discussion, in a group, there was considerable disagreement over what Moses' sin was. Was it merely striking the rock when he had been told to speak to the rock (with the rod with him)? Or was it his attitude and words as he seemed to seek glory for what HE was doing to bring water from the rock, not giving glory to God. In the texts below, it seems clear that it was a sin brought on by provocation. And God made note of the fact that Moses did NOT glorify God.:

As for the fact of the sin of Moses being connected with his "speaking inadvisedly",  Ps. 106 is one which I have used for years in preaching about the incident at Kadesh.

If we just stay with the facts we should all be able to agree that at one time Moses was told to strike a rock with his rod to procure water. There was absolutely no problem with that . . . he obeyed God's command. On the later occasion we are not told that he was to strike the rock, but rather that he was told to speak to the rock. Instead, he struck the rock (as before), and spoke to the people in words that vented his frustration with the people and gave glory to himself.

I can understand how Moses might have used the past instruction (to strike the rock) as his reason for striking the rock to produce water.  But there is no way he could justify his words. He was characterized by meekness most of his life, but on this occasion his meekness was overcome by his emotion, and his tongue, full of fire, spoke words that cost him his opportunity to set foot on the Promised Land.

(Psa 106:32-33 KJV)  They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: {33} Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.

(Exo 17:1-7 KJV)  And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. {2} Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? {3} And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? {4} And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. {5} And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. {6} Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. {7} And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

(Num 20:1-13 KJV)  Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. {2} And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. {3} And the people chided with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! {4} And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? {5} And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink. {6} And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them. {7} And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {8} Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. {9} And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. {10} And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must      we    fetch you water out of this rock? {11} And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. {12} And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. {13} This is the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.

So we have the inspired commentary on the incident:

(Psa 106:32-33 KJV)  They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: {33} Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.

CREDIT for the water production is given to GOD in the future:

(Deu 8:15 KJV)  Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;

(Neh 9:15-16 KJV)  And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them. {16} But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments,

(Psa 114:7-8 KJV)  Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; {8} Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.

Here is the big lesson for us:

(Psa 115:1 KJV)  Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.

(Psa 19:13-14 KJV)  Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. {14} Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

(James 3:2-5 KJV)  For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. . . . {5} Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

Kenneth L. Thomas