Aaron died at the end of Chapter 20 — and he and the entire community had advance knowledge of it. Can you imagine what it would be like if the Lord told you that you needed to climb to the top of a mountain, hand the clothes off your back to your firstborn, and then you would die?
Yet that is exactly what happened.
Backtracking a few pages is the reason Aaron had to die at that time: the Lord was not happy about the way Moses and Aaron got water to come out of the rock in the desert. In the first place, the Lord told them to SPEAK to the rock, and water would flow out of it. But Moses and Aaron did not simply speak; instead, they went and retrieved Moses’ staff from the holy place in the Tabernacle, and then they yelled at the people and struck the rock with the staff.
The end result was the same — water came out of the rock — but the means to that end displeased the Lord. Doing it “their way” with the staff made it appear as if the staff itself is what caused the water to flow rather than the Presence of the Lord.
How many times have I tried to do things “my way” instead of “God’s way?” Too many to count. I’d go so far as to say that most of the time I make my decisions and speak my words without first checking with the Lord. I go to Him for the hard ones, but what about for those decisions that seem easy on the surface? Do I rob Him the chance of displaying His glory when I go out and just get it done all by myself?
I am thankful that because of His grace and mercy, my mistakes are covered. I don’t have to be like Aaron, forced to walk the Green Mile in the sight of the whole community.