What Moses Lost When He Failed to Hallow God’s Name


The day Moses failed to hallow God’s name brought severe and lasting consequences. Years later, the moment came when God finally said to Moses, “I am done talking about this. You are not going.” It makes me wonder how many times Moses had asked!

You see, many years before this, Moses sinned. The consequence given by God was that he would never enter the promised land.

Years later, Moses tried to barter with God. He said, “What god is there who can do the things that You do? Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan – that fine hill country and Lebanon.” [see Deuteronomy 3:23-4:1]

God said, “I’m done talking with you about this. You. are. not. going.”

I don’t think Moses asked again.

It’s a long forty-year story, but there is a short version. Moses, the chosen-by-God leader of the children of Israel led those people for forty years all the way from Egypt to the edge of the Promised Land. Moses had a personal relationship with God, evidenced by his on-the-mountain experiences. He prayed for wisdom and for the people. At times, he asked God to change His mind about punishing those stiff-necked people, and God did.

Moses had frustrations and doubts and fears. He also charged the people to have faith, to stand still and see God’s glory, and to repent of their sins.

There was one time, though, that he did things his own way. The people needed water, and Moses got water for them from the rock that God told him to use.

God told Moses, “As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water.”

‘Only problem is, Moses didn’t do it the way God told him to do it. Instead of speaking to the rock, he struck it with his staff. Twice.

Moses also  implied that the power came through Aaron and himself. He said to the people, “Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” [see Numbers 20:10]

The people still got the water and their thirst was quenched. The end result (abundant water) was the same, but the problem was Moses did it his way.

Speaking to a rock to produce water from that rock would imply that the power came from God. Striking the rock (twice) with his rod made it appear that the power came from Moses. In doing so, Moses failed to hallow God’s name.

There were consequences. God said to both Aaron and Moses, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel; therefore, you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” [see also Deuteronomy 32:51 and Numbers 20:24; 27:14].

You would think after everything else Moses had done right, God would have relented. He would have allowed him another chance, but He didn’t.

I used to think the punishment was because Moses didn’t follow God’s instructions. I still believe that was part of the problem. However, Moses’ sin was that by not following God’s instructions, He failed to hallow God’s  name before the people. God desired to be acknowledged by His people as their provider of water. By striking the rock (with no mention of God), Moses  portrayed himself as the provider of water.

It’s true that the end result was the same: water to drink from that rock. After all, did it really matter how the water was made to come out of the rock as long as it came?! They got what they needed, right?

It mattered. Oh yes, it mattered.

Moses lost the privilege (after forty years of travel in the desert, leading the bunch of stiff-necked people, and bringing them right to the edge of that land) of entering the promised land.


He never won that privilege back. Moses got to look over into the land. God showed him the land from Mt. Nebo, the mountaintop right next to the land, but he couldn’t go in. Somewhere on that mountain, Moses died and was buried by God.

Why didn’t Moses get that privilege?  God said Moses failed to hallow God’s name. He did not sanctify the name of the most high God.

How many times how we failed to hallow His name? We claim credit for what He does. We think we’ve pulled ourselves up by our own boot straps. We do things our way instead of doing what He tells us to do.

Heaven – our Promised Land – waits for those who hallow His name.



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