Trish S – Why was Moses not allowed into the Promised Land?

Dave – Thanks for your question. There are two key Scriptures to consider:

  • Exodus 17:6 – God directs Moses

    Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shallcome out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.

  • Numbers 20:8-12 – God directs Moses a different time 

    “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”

The first time in Exodus, no problem. But that second time in Numbers God told Moses to just SPEAK to the rock. Well, Moses was so upset with the people that he not only struck that rock but did so twice. I think he was not only venting his anger in front of those he was leading, but also said “we” as if it was he and God supplying the miracle water rather than just God alone. We learn from James 3:1 that people given more authority has more responsibility before God therefore any punishment is more severe.


Nels F (3/4/14) – Wonderful answer easy to understand – Dave!