“And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto then, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?”
Because of the lack of water, the children of Israel rebelled against Moses, complaining that they would have been better off in their Egyptian bondage. The Lord instructed Moses to speak to the rock, and it would bring forth water. Instead of obeying the Lord, Moses, provoked by their bickering, spoke angrily to the people: “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” He then smote the rock. The result of Moses’ bad attitude and resulting action was devastating. He would not be able to lead the people he so cared for into the Promised Land. One of the greatest men of God of all time would not complete the assignment given to him by His Maker.
As much as any experience in the Bible, we see the extreme importance of keeping a right attitude. How serious is a bad attitude? When we think of horrible and damaging sins, we generally think of such things as acts of immorality, dishonesty, idolatry, etc. Obviously these things are serious, but sins of the attitude can be equally costly and harmful. Examples of sinful attitudes would be anger, lust, pride, covetousness, bitterness, hypocrisy, stubbornness, impatience, and a host of others. It would be wise for us to treat attitude sins as being just as wicked as fleshly sins.
There is much in the account of Moses and his outburst that we can relate to. Most, if not all of us, struggle with attitudes that we know are not pleasing to God or benefiting to others. Sometimes we blame those attitudes on others. The continual carnal complaining of those Moses was trying to lead provoked his bad attitude. Their negativism and criticism was inexcusable.
In a similar way, our poor attitudes often manifest themselves because of the actions, or attitudes, of others. However, in spite of the behavior of others, we must accept responsibility for our responses. We cannot excuse our poor reactions or blame our sin on the actions or attitudes of others. It would do us good to contemplate the damaging effect our complaining and murmuring could have on others, including those who are leading us. By God’s grace, we want to daily walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to influence our attitudes, to honor Him and edify others.