It is so easy to blame others for their actions that caused us to say something negative or act in a certain unkindly way. “They were the reason I did such and such.” “If only they hadn’t acted a certain way, none of this would have been a problem.” “If only they hadn’t accused me of this, I would have never lashed out at them.” “They had no right to do the things they did.” “She made me do it.” “He made me do it.” I could go on and on about the blame game that we play today and have played for centuries. We learned it early in life from our parents and became experts in placing the blame on others.
The earliest occurrence of this blame game came with the first couple on this earth, Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3, we see the blame game taking place when God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of evil. Unfortunately they disobeyed God and when confronted, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.
We find another blame game taking place with Moses, many years later. Moses was called by God to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt which Moses did through various miracles performed by God. When the people grumbled about having no water, God told Moses to strike the rock which he did and water gushed out from the rock (Exodus 17:6) In Numbers 20 the same scenario occurred where the people grumbled at not having water, so this time God told Moses to speak to the rock. Rather than speaking to the rock, Moses got mad and struck the rock. Water came forth from the rock, but the Lord was angry with Moses because he didn’t obey what the Lord had told him to do.
I have always thought that Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the promised land because of this sin of not obeying the Lord when He told him to speak to the rock. I have revised my thought process based upon the responses of Moses 40 years later when the nation of Israel was about to enter the promised land. Moses is speaking to the people just before they enter and this is how he describes the event 40 years prior about the water and rock incident.
““And the Lord was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, ‘Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land!” Deut. 1:37 NLT ““But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more. But go up to Pisgah Peak, and look over the land in every direction. Take a good look, but you may not cross the Jordan River.” Deut. 3:26-27 NLT ““But the Lord was angry with me because of you. He vowed that I would not cross the Jordan River into the good land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession. You will cross the Jordan to occupy the land, but I will not. Instead, I will die here on the east side of the river.” Deut. 4:21-22 NLT
Do you catch what Moses was saying? “The Lord was angry with me because of you.” He said it three times. Moses was blaming the people for not being able to go into the promised land. There was nothing in his statement about his responsibility. There was nothing about his lack of obeying what the Lord wanted him to do, “speak to the rock.” I wonder what would have happened if Moses took responsibility and humbled himself, admitting his wrong and his disobedience?
On this journey there have been many times when we (I) have played the blame game and not taken responsibility of my mistakes. What God wants is a humble spirit, not one that seeks to blame and justify wrong actions, wrong words, and wrong attitudes. Humbleness is a forgotten quality that needs to be dusted off for present use.