Let’s understand that the purpose of the signs is to increase faith, to make a person believe God can save in all situations:
Numbers 14:11The LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?
This is because the Way God makes a person a blessing to the world is when that person picks up a cross, puts himself in danger, like Jesus did everyday in confronting the authorities, and God performs a sign to save us from that danger. The blessing happens when all who see the sign realise that God can save from the dangers that come up when He asks us to live selfless lives.
Notice that God continues to perform signs even when Pharaoh has been neutralised. Even stranger, it is not Pharoah creating dangerous situations, but God doing so, in putting Israel at risk of dying from thirst and hunger. God then saved, by providing food and water.
Notice that this is exactly what God did with Abraham, creating calamities that forced Abraham to seek relief in the palaces of kings. Abraham tries to protect himself from the threat of death, because of the rulers coveting Sarah, by lying that she is not his wife, but it is God who saves from those dangers. Where Abraham differs from Israel is that he learns that God is trying to teach him to trust, because the only way people will listen to God's command to live selfless lives, is if they see God protecting those who obey this command. Abraham realises, also, that this is how the promise to him that he would be a blessing to the world would be fulfilled. So when God asks him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham believes people will be blessed by seeing God save, because he fully expects God to return Isaac back alive to him.
Hebrews 11:19He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.
Israel, on the other hand lost the opportunity to be used by God, to motivate people to follow God, when she refused to face the Amalekites.
The model is this:
- God creates a cross
- Believer picks up the cross
- God raises up the
believer from the threat
People are motivated to live selfless lives, lives of picking up the cross, in order to motivate others to gather, like they gather, to bring back God’s sheep.
John 15:12This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
The important point is that the saving act must be acknowledged to have come from God, the glory given to Him:
John 14:10"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
So the sin Moses committed was in not giving God credit for the miracle, because people are saved not by following Moses, but by following God.
Another point I read, in a thread on this forum, is that God used Israel as an oracle bearer, to manifest information that would help believers to recognise the Messiah, and help them obey him. Circumcision was a prophecy that the penalty for non performance of the Sinaitic Covenant would be paid by Messiah, just as the act of Abraham walking between the halves of the animal signified what the penalty was, for not fulfilling the covenant. The penalty was paid by Christ, because Scripture says, “Cursed is the One who is hung on a tree”.
Gaalatians 3:13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE "--
So what was the prophecy manifested in the command to speak to the Rock? If we go back, we read that Moses struck the rock on a previous occasion, and caused water to flow out. This prophecy was fulfilled when israel struck the Rock on the Cross, causing the Holy Spirit to be given. However, since Israel was made a vessel of dishonour, the Holy Spirit was given to non Jews:
Galatians 3: 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— 14in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Did God’s word fail? No, because God also commanded Moses to speak to the Rock at Meribah, to get water a second time. This was a prophecy that Israel would also receive the Holy Spirit, when she confessed, “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord”! Unfortunately Moses failed to deliver the oracle, so that was also counted as a sin by God!
All Scripture from the NASB.