Moses’ mistake was not in doubting the power of God to bring water out of the rock. Rather, Moses’ mistake was in not burying his life so deeply in the life of God that Moses no longer was visible – and only God was.
“Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel …” Moses stood in front of the rock and undertook a human action. “Shall we … ?” he asked them. Moses refused to take himself completely out of the picture so that only God remained.
Often in Scripture, God is described as the “rock” of Israel. Christ is described in this way as well (1 Corinthians 10:4). More specifically, God is the “rock of refuge” for his people.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 18:2).
“Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!” (Psalm 31:2).
We do not reach for God as we might reach for an argument or an excuse. We do not grasp God as we would a weapon. No, we hide ourselves in the safety of our Rock and Fortress. When our enemies or critics come to search for us, we are not to be found. The only one they see is God himself.
But how do we do this? We face all sorts of trouble in life, and we may frequently want to turn to God for help, as Moses and Aaron rightly did. We take refuge in God by entering humbly into his presence, hearing his Word, and doing exactly as he says.
We find refuge not so we can prop up some image of ourselves before other people, so that we can keep up appearances. Rather, we lose ourselves entirely in the way and will of God. The story people need to hear is not about us by ourselves, but about who we are in Him.