Psalm 106:32-33 They angered him at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account, for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips.
Moses had a major flaw—even after all that the Lord had done through him, he still doubt himself as an instrument of Yah. This led him to make mistakes and complain about the overwhelming task and frustration of leading so many people.
It is taught, especially in biblical books for children, that Moses and Aaron were not allowed to cross over into the Promised Land because Moses struck the rock twice. I think there is more to it than that. Let us take a closer look at it:
Numbers 20:8-12 [The LORD said,] “Take the rod, and gather you the assembly together, you, and Aaron your brother, and speak you to the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock: so you shall give the congregation and their beasts drink.”
And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him.
Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and Moses said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we fetch you water out of this rock?” 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.
And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you believed Me not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”
Moses had gotten into the habit of using a staff by the Lord’s direction (see Exodus 4:17, 14:16, and 17:6), so why did the water come out if he had disobeyed?
Sedimentary rock is known to feature pockets where water can collect just below the surface…by breaking through the surface can release the collected water. (The IVP Bible Background Commentary)
This was an old sheepherder’s technique to water flocks and Moses knew it. The Lord wanted His power to release the water, but Moses allowed his temper to cloud his judgment and took credit for the act.
In other words, he stole glory from the Lord (Romans 3:27, 1 Corinthians 1:29)—the worst thing anyone can do, since we are instruments for His glory (Isaiah 43:7).
Why was Aaron also punished? Because of his habit of going-along to get along (Exodus 32:1-6, Numbers 12:1-2), Aaron did not bother to stop or correct his brother.
David may have sinned, but he never took praise unto himself for what the Lord did through him. All praise Jesus received, he kept giving to the Father (Matthew 4:3-10, Luke 4:3-12, Luke 11:27-28, John 5:19, John 7:15-16, John 8:54, John 12:49). Peter reminded those who saw him heal he was still a man (Acts 3:12, Acts 10:26). Paul and Barnabas had trouble keeping the Greeks from wanting to treat the two like gods (Acts 14:8-18). Twice, John went prostrate before a heavenly messenger, but the angel told John he was no better than he (Revelation 19:9-10, Revelation 22:8-9).
On the flip side, how are we to handle glory given to us by humans? I have not a clue, but we should not make a big fuss over it. When I first found the Watchman’s Cry forum, I was impressed by the way they gave the Lord glory for working through a person. For Jesus, it was a common occurrence:
Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
Will we ever get into the habit of doing this?