Why did God not allow Moses to enter the promised land?

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Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because there was an incident in which he did not follow God’s instructions.

Let us read the passage in Numbers 20:8-12:

Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.

And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him.

10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?

11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

12 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

What was the sin of Moses?
  1. Moses disobeyed a direct command of God. The Lord commanded him to speak to the rock. Instead, Moses hit the rock with his staff. Moses overlooked the patience of God in His dealings with the people, which should have been reflected in his own attitude and demeanor.
  2. He took the credit of the miracle for himself instead of attributing it to God when he said, “Must we [referring to Moses and Aaron] bring you water out of this rock?” (V. 10).
  3. Sinned in front of Israel-  giving a public example of disobedience.
  4. Both Moses and Aaron lacked trust in God which is reflected in the fact that God pointed it out to them: “Because you did not trust in me enough…” (Numbers 20:12). Their punishment was that they would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12).

But, the Lord didn’t forget how Moses was faithful to Him prior to this incident. So, in His mercy, He gave Moses a private resurrection (Jude 9) and took him to Heaven.

Later on, Moses appeared to Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah (who was taken alive to heaven – 2 kings 2:11). “And (Christ) was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him” (Matt. 17:2, 3).

In this story, we see both the justice and the mercy of God in dealing with His children.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Before you go

Jesus loves you and has died for you so that one day you may live with Him forever.

If you’ve not accepted Jesus, you can do so right now. All it takes is one simple prayer, such as this:

Dear Father, I’m sorry for my sins. I want to be filled with your love in my heart. Please cleanse me that I may be born again as one of your children. In Jesus name, Amen.

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