March 11

Numbers 20:8, 10-11 (NIV) 8"Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. 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."

10He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" 11Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

This is the second time the LORD commanded Moses to bring water from the Rock. The first time God told Moses to strike the rock with his rod. This second time Moses was told to speak to the rock. Instead, Moses spoke some harsh words to the complaining people and struck the Rock twice. We can hardly blame him for being upset. This incident was cited as the reason he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. What is so horrible?

We must remember that the LORD spoke clearly to Moses. Moses was not trying to discern what the LORD was leading him to do. In 1 Corinthians 10 we learn that this rock is a picture of Jesus. The first time we come to Him for the water of life, we find that He had to be struck for us that the water of life might flow out. He was struck in our place upon the cross.

Once struck, He need never be struck again. All we need to do is speak to our Rock, and the water of Life is freely given to us. What an awesome picture God was painting! But Moses marred it. Notice that in Moses' anger he also said that he and Aaron were the ones bringing out the water from the rock. Jesus alone can do that. Moses fell into the fatal error of many leaders. He suggested that he is the one who meets their needs, pointing to self instead of God. We must always be careful to give God all the glory.

Meditation: Since Jesus was struck for me, now all I need to do is speak to Him and the water of life will flow out to me.

March 11

Matthew 18:2-4 (NIV) 2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The disciples had asked about who was greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They probably expected to hear that Moses or Elijah or some other great Old Testament figure was. It must have been shocking when Jesus took a child and stood him in their midst and set him up as the model. I'm sure the child was speechless along with the disciples.

Jesus said that they had to become like little children to even enter the kingdom. What did we lose in growing up? Jesus tells us in the next statement. It is the humility of a little child that qualifies one for greatness. As we grow into young men and women we think we know it all. It takes the rest of our lives to realize we had it right when we were little children utterly dependent on others to teach and instruct us.

Jesus modeled this childlike humility. He did nothing but what His Father showed Him. He made no judgments on His own but that which the Father determined. He even depended on the Father to show Him what to say and how to say it. Once we realize how little we know, how easily we are deceived, and how much we need to rely upon the Spirit of God for making any correct decisions, we should become like that little child. That is why broken leaders make the best leaders. They realize their fallibility. The analogy of sheep teaches the same lesson. Face it; we are dumb, vulnerable, and cannot care for ourselves. Once you realize that, you have become poor in spirit and the kingdom of heaven is yours.

Meditation: Greatness lies in being lowest, not highest.