And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?”
It is easy to see why Moses became frustrated with the Hebrew people. They were so hard-hearted and weak in their faith that Moses lost his patience and became angry with them. Yet every time Moses shifted his focus away from God, it cost him. When he sought to help his people by taking matters into his own hands, he spent the next forty years herding sheep in the wilderness (Exod. 2:11–15). This time his impetuous behavior cost him the opportunity to enter the Promised Land (Num. 20:12).
In his frustration at the peoples’ irreverence, Moses committed the very same sin, blatantly disobeying God’s instructions. Moses allowed his attention to shift to the behavior of others rather than focusing on the activity of God. This could happen to you as well. God has put people around you who need your ministry to them. You will never be able to properly help them, however, unless your primary focus is on God. If you concentrate on people, their weaknesses, their disobedience, their lack of faith, and their stubbornness will quickly frustrate you. You may, like Moses, commit the very sins you are condemning. If, however, your eyes are fixed on holy God, you will become more like Him—gracious, forgiving, long-suffering, and righteous. When a friend’s behavior disappoints you, go immediately to the Lord. Seek to discern what God is wanting to do in your friend’s life rather than concentrating on your friend’s sin. Then you will have the strength, wisdom, and patience you need to help your friend in the way God desires.