When We Must Live With The Consequences Of Our Words And Actions
Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill. But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!”
Wouldn’t you love the ability to go back in time and change something you did or said? I know there have been moments in my life—awful moments when I acted on the impulse of the flesh—that I would dearly love to call back. But alas, I cannot.
Don’t you imagine, during those days prior to his homegoing, Moses would have cheerfully given his right arm to relive that incident at the rock? “Oh Lord, if I could only back up and do that all over! I would have cried out for Your help to control my anger. I would have been more concerned for Your glory. I would have done exactly as You instructed.”
But he couldn’t go back. In a single moment of rage, he forfeited his right to lead Israel. He threw away his opportunity to enter the Promised Land.
The sad fact is, we cannot go back. None of us can. We cannot undo sinful deeds or unsay sinful words. We cannot reclaim those moments when we were possessed by rage, lust, cruelty, indifference, or hard-headed pride. Like Moses, we may be forgiven for those sins and have them blotted out of our record by the blood of Christ. Even so, we must live with the consequences of our words and our actions. What we sow, the Scriptures warn, we will also reap.
No, we can’t go back. Our gracious Lord has covered our past with His own blood, given on the cross for us. David reminds us that, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
But we can learn to walk much closer with Him, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. We can keep short accounts with Him and lean on the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts and shield us from destructive, life-shattering sins. He will do it. He has promised to provide us with a way of escape so that we can bear up under any temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13)—any temptation at any moment.
If this becomes our way of life, my friend, when God says speak to the rock, we will speak, not strike. And the water that flows from those moments of obedience will refresh a multitude, including ourselves, with no aftertaste of regret.