11. TO REBEL AGAINST GOD'S LEADERS IS TO REBEL AGAINST GOD HIMSELF.
"On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, 'You have killed the people of the LORD.' Now it happened, when the congregation had gathered against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tabernacle of meeting; and suddenly the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared. Then Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of meeting. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.' And they fell on their faces. So Moses said to Aaron, 'Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the LORD. The plague has begun.' Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped. Now those who died in the plague were fourteen thousand seven hundred, besides those who died in the Korah incident. So Aaron returned to Moses at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, for the plague had stopped."Moses & Aaron were not responsible for the rebellious actions of Korah and his company. They should not have been blamed by the people, but they were blamed nevertheless and God became very angry. Nearly 15,000 people died because they rebelled against the leaders God had appointed. In reality, they had rebelled against God Himself in so doing (cf. 16:11).
12. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "SPEAKING" & "STRIKING," AND THE DIFFERENCE MATTERS TO GOD.
Numbers 20:8,11 - "Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals...Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank."
On this occasion Moses was instructed by God to speak to the rock. Instead, in anger, he struck it. Water came forth abundantly but God was displeased. So much so that He told Moses that he would not be able to enter the Promised Land as a result (cf. 20:12). There is a difference between striking and speaking, and the difference matters to God. The difference matters to Him even if He never specified that striking the rock was wrong. God had authorized Moses (on this occasion) to speak to the rock (nothing more & nothing less). Today, in Christian worship, we are instructed to speak (sing; cf. Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Why go beyond what we have been authorized by striking the head of a drum or striking chords on a piano? There is a difference between speaking and striking, and the difference can cost one his entrance into the Promised Land.
13. EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES--EVEN GREAT LEADERS.
Numbers 20:10-12 - "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?' Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, '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.'"
Don't expect people to be perfect; you aren't. All have sinned and fall short of God's glory (cf. Rom. 3:23), even Moses--the man who was without equal as a prophet (cf. Deut. 34:10-12). This error cost Moses greatly. King David, a man after God's own heart, sinned grievously with Bathsheba and it cost him significantly. Our sins will cost us greatly as well. That is not to say we cannot be forgiven and cleansed. We most certainly can if we humble ourselves and seek His way of salvation.