Numbers 20

Talks for Growing Christians

Moses Strikes the Rock Again; Edom Refuses to Help Israel

Numbers 20

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Lesson Number 25

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The discipline of Moses was for his irreverence.
  2. The death of Aaron was for his rebellion.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s flee the flesh.


  1. How much time passed between Numbers chapter 19 and chapter 20?
  2. What happened during this time?
  3. How did Moses sin in this chapter?
  4. Was God too harsh in His punishment of Moses?
  5. How did God punish Moses for his irreverence?
  6. Who were the Edomites? What do they spiritually picture?


  1. About 38 years
  2. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness because of their sin of unbelief.
  3. God instructed him to speak to a rock to provide water for the people. Instead, Moses chastised the people and struck the rock twice out of anger.
  4. No, Moses was God’s representative, and by disobeying God’s instruction he showed irreverence.
  5. Moses was not allowed to lead the people into the Promised Land or enter the Land himself.
  6. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, a “man of the flesh.” Throughout the Old Testament the Edomites are a spiritual picture of the flesh in its lustful activities.


  1. Numbers 20 begins with the Israelites in Kadesh, from where they had sent out the spies 38 years earlier. They had not gotten very far in their wanderings. The same is true of our Christian walk. We will not get very far if we get bogged down by the sins of the wilderness. Review those sins and evaluate your success in those areas since this study began.
  2. God’s plan was for Israel to bypass the nation of Edom on their way to the Promised Land. This is a picture of us fleeing from fleshly lusts. Discuss this principle of fleeing the flesh, rather than fighting the flesh. Refer to 2 Timothy 2:22.


  1. This sad chapter is full of failure on the part of Moses, Aaron, and the rest of the Israelites. When Moses disobeyed God’s simple command, it showed his underlying irreverence for God. Commit this week to obey God’s simple commands to you. If you are struggling with disobedience in this area, ask God how you can grow in reverence for Him.

Key Verses

  • “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.” Numbers 20:12
  • “Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain.” Numbers 20:28

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