One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness. Psalm 145:4-6
Around 38 years have passed between Numbers 19 and 20. This helps me see how the people could be complaining AGAIN about not having water (v 2-4). It made me realize that the previous provision had been for their parents, and not for them.
But it also made me realize that apparently, the previous generation had not done a good job in passing on the stories of God’s faithfulness.
If our children are not trusting God, we may have to take a hard look in the mirror and ask if it’s because we haven’t told them our stories.
Moses, on the other hand, seems to have the opposite problem. What worked in the past (Exodus 17) was to strike the rock to release the water. (See Day 035: This Time, It’s This Way. Next Time, It’s Another Way (Exodus 16-18) So even though God said to speak to the rock this time, Moses fell back on what had worked for him before, and it cost him the right to lead a new generation into the Promised Land.
I think it was a grace gift to the people of Israel that God required a new leader for a new generation. Thankfully, Moses had been mentoring Joshua for about 40 years by this point, so Joshua was ready.
This year I turn 57 years old. I’ve been in ministry for 37 years. And I have two great obligations to the generation of leaders that is coming after me:
1. Make sure I tell them the stories of God’s faithfulness in the past.
2. Make sure I don’t expect them to simply duplicate the methods of the past.
God will have a new word for the next generation. I need to graciously and gladly get out of the way.