In my anger with my son who often does things that annoy me, I often whack the rock like Moses did. In trying to understand what the "incident at Meribah" really means, I realize how many inicidents of Meribah I inflict on my own life.
The Israelites, once again, complain, and once again it's about water. God tells Moses to speak to the rock and water will come out. Instead of speaking to it (or about it, as some interpreters suggest), he hits it and tells the people, "Listen, rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" Because of Moses' dealings with this situation, he was not permitted to enter the promised land. What did he do wrong? Well, first he disobeyed by enacting the wrong verb. Instead of speaking, he hit. Secondly, he did not differentiate to the people (who began to blur the lines between their perception of Moses and of God) that the water was coming out of the rock because of God's authority, not because of Moses'. "Must we bring you water ... ." Numbers 20:12 says that Moses' sin was not honoring God as holy.
Moses was called to perform a miracle and then explain [speak] that miracle to the Israelites, attributing the power of it to God. Why? Because as their leader, he was to lead them into a relationship with God. Just as our leadership positions in life are meant for that same purpose. Instead, he was so frustrated with the Israelites and he angrily gave them what they asked. ["Mommy, I'm hungry. Mommy, I'm hungry. Mommy, I'm hungry!" "Fine, here's your dern peanut butter and jelly sandwich!"] It seems that his perception of the people he was leading was wrong. Likewise the people's perception of Moses was wrong. Moses saw the people as babbling, complaining, annoying, needy, which justifiably they were. But he did not see them as more than that. He could not see himself in them. He stood on a pedestal created by his perceptions and by theirs. The people saw Moses as a god-like figure that could not relate to them. He glowed, he saw the burning bush, he could go 40 days without eating! The gap was too wide. So when the people made Moses angry, he filtered not his emotions and made no attempt to bridge that gap.
The question is, how often do I do the same thing? Cademon can push buttons on me that I didn't know existed. I can get so frustrated at him for simple things that instead of explaining who God is in those teachable moments, I simply give him what he needs so he'll leave me alone. I whack the stick against the rock and don't care if he understands from where (or from whom) the water is coming. The need is being satisfied but I'm not explaining how. The result? I am unable to enter the rest that is promised me because of a lack of unbelief. Sure, it takes more energy to explain to Cade who God is and why He is so great. Sure, it takes more time to explain how God supplies our needs and how the authority I have is limited because I am not God. But in the end, as in most cases of parenting, investing more up front proves a better return on the investment. In the end, I find rest when Cade is able to connect what I've been teaching him at home in other environments. In the end, Cade will understand that I cannot give him everything, that my power and authority are finite, and that ultimately, it's his relationship with God that matters most. Whacking a stick is often what I want to do in those moments, but if I give into that temptation, I cannot enter true rest.