Moses.... Despite God’s close relationship with God, when Moses makes the mistake of hitting the rock twice, his anger is kindled and he refuses to let Moses enter into the land of Canaan.
It seemed almost unfair to me when i first read it, though I didn’t focus on it. But regardless, thinking about the many, many times the Israelites messed up and God granted forgiveness to them, and knowing how easily and frequently these whining people complained, surely God understood Moses’s frustration and challenge. However, when Moses messes up, God reprimands Moses immediately.
Looking at this through my humanistic eyes, it seems unfair. But putting things into perspective, God could have issued a much greater punishment. Also, God used Moses greatly and He needed Moses to be faithful to what He spoke to him and not to forget who was dealing with.
Moses was held to a much higher standard than all the other Israelites, so it was imperative that Moses listen and follow God’s commands. Just as he gives specific instruction surrounding the Arc of the Covenant and how he struck individuals down (list individuals) for violating His statute surrounding it, it shows that God wants it done His way. How dare we violate what God has said.
Finally, think about why we are held to a higher standard. To whom much is given, much is required. As a parent, i hold my oldest daughter to a higher standard to my smaller children because she knows better. She knows me well enough to know what I expect of her. She knows that since she is the first-born, the others are looking up to her and I need her to set a good example. And if I give her instruction in private, just as God gives Moses instruction in private, and that instruction is not carried out.... sometimes we are reprimanded in public to serve as an example to others. When we are reprimanded in private, we internalize the reprimand and, in turn, we can let others know with a greater sense of urgency that you need to follow God completely.