Speak ye to the rock; and Moses smote the rock twice. - Numbers 20:8-11
What a miracle of grace is here! Nothing could have been mort explicit than the Divine command that Moses should, on this occasion, simply speak to the rock. We cannot fathom the deep reason; perhaps it was because the Spiritual Rock of our salvation could not be smitten by the soldier's spear twice. "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." Moreover, we are taught to wait on God each time we perform duties which appear similar, for the ways in which they should be performed may vary widely. It is clear, whatever the reason, that Moses was to speak, not smite.
However, he grievously disobeyed; largely, probably, because he could not believe that mere speech would suffice for the miracle. He thought that he must do something to aid God, not realizing how slight a part man's is in the Divine esteem. No flesh may glory in His presence. God must be all in all. We must believe that a word is enough; and that God will do the rest.
But, in spite of his irritation, disobedience, and unbelief, the water gushed out. The sin of the servant did not annul the love and faithfulness of God. "If we believe not, He remaineth faithful." It is a sweet lesson. We are worthless and unprofitable servants; we fail to believe and obey. But God's grace flows over the bank, and inundates the wilderness with crystal streams. The Psalmist says the waters did not trickle, they gushed out. Oh, miracle of Divine faithfulness! But Moses himself had to pay the penalty in later years. Disobedience in God's servants cannot be condoned. In proportion to the saintliness of their character is the rigor of their punishment.