Speak to the rock.
In the thirty-ninth year of my two-week journey from Sinai to Canaan, I was beyond calm speaking. I wanted to strike something or someone…better the rock than one of God’s complaining chosen.
Water exploded from the rock, God honoring his promise. God had always called me his friend, but now I had dishonored him and there was a price to pay: The covenant he had sworn to Abraham God now snatched from my hands. I would never homestead in Canaan. Though I had successfully pleaded for other offenders, the Holy One would not consider my case.
So he stood with me on Mount Nebo, two old friends who had traveled countless dusty miles together, and we looked toward the horizon: fields green with new barley, olive groves and vineyards, hills and valleys—a breathtaking panorama, a fertile land that would soon be a home for my people. God dried my bittersweet tears, and I slept with my fathers.
But I’m awake now—though I can’t understand how or why—standing again on a mountain. No longer distant, the green fields and lush groves seem close enough to touch, a promise returned to my trembling hands.
I turn and shade my eyes from the white-hot brilliance of the man before me, but he grasps my shoulders and pulls me close. Gazing into his eyes, I recognize the holy fire I had first glimpsed in a burning desert bush.
Welcome home, Old Friend.
(I wrote this several years ago and just rediscovered it in my files. It is based on events in Numbers 20 and Mark 9.)