In the morning, the kids and I have been reading through The Story. Last week we read the chapter about how Moses and Aaron were not allowed into the Promised Land because they did not honor God as God. The story takes place in Numbers 20 as the Israelites were wandering their extra 40 years in the wilderness due to their disbelief. There is no water and once again the Israelites are cranky with Moses and Aaron and wish they would have died or stayed in Eygpt. This story also seems to take place not long after Miriam dies. Moses is dealing with the death of his sister, no water and cranky, rebellious Israelites. If he took one of those stress tests, I am sure his score would indicate he might be close to burnout or a nervous breakdown. Moses and Aaron's reaction starts out as it should. They go straight to God and fall facedown before Him. God hears and gives them instructions to speak to the rock and water will come.
Moses and Aaron then gather the people but instead of speaking to the rock, Moses says, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water from this rock?" (Numbers 20:10) He then strikes the rock twice and water comes. Now maybe I wasn't listening right but didn't God say Moses was to speak to the rock? God's response to this action was a sad one but one that shows how important honoring God is. In Numbers 20:12, the Lord speaks to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."
I have been thinking about this story all week. I thought about Moses and how stressful his life must have been. He is wandering the wilderness for 40 more years due to grumbling Israelites and now they are whining about no water. In my humanness, I don't blame him for getting mad. It's excusable. He was having a bad day. But God says, "Because you did not trust me enough..." Ouch. Bad day or not, Moses is expected to trust God enough and to honor him. I may not have grumbling Israelites but I do have students who have decided to quit for the year, talk whenever they want, and then complain that their grade is not high enough. So when I sometimes lose my cool, I find it excusable. God has been showing me it is not excusable. When I lose my cool, I am not honoring my heavenly Father. I am not trusting that He will give me calm words to say. I am not even sending up a bullet prayer of help me. I am going at it alone. I am striking with angry words when I need to be speaking His words. So in my interactions with students this week, this story has been on my mind. My words and actions that don't honor God have consequences seen or unseen. And only my trust in God's strength will bring about the words and actions that will bring honor to his name. At the end of the year, I want my students to remember a teacher who took time to listen and work with them. A teacher who loved them and they knew something was different about her- the God she serves. Not a teacher who got angry easily but a teacher who set boundaries that brought about learning. Not a teacher who took things personally but a teacher who pushed forward even on the hard days. So here is to finishing the year strong with a prayer to trust God and honor Him in all things.