Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 17, 1957

Their Thirst Was Quenched, But Moses Did Not Follow The Pattern

Cecil B. Douthitt, Brownwood, Texas

The missionary society and sponsoring church promoters alike contend that churches all over the world ought to surrender the control of their resources to them, because they say they are getting results as manifested in the conversion of thousands of lost souls and the care of hundreds of orphans and widows and other indigent. This is nothing more than the age-old erroneous claim that the "end justifies the means," though they may not know it, and perhaps will deny it.

"The end does not justify the means." Moses brought forth water from the rock by striking it with his rod, and quenched the thirst of both man and beast; but he could not honor and sanctify Jehovah "before their eyes" by deviating from the "pattern" and resorting to a method of his own. God had told him how to bring forth water from the rock. He said, "Speak ye unto the rock before their eyes, that it give forth its water." (Num. 20:8.) But he did not believe that God's way was a better way to do it; therefore, he "smote the rock with his rod"; he did not believe in God. "And Jehovah said unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed not in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them." (Num. 20:12.) To lose faith in God's "pattern" is to lose faith in God. Of course, the validity of the "pattern argument" could not be denied by Moses when God told him to go up "unto Mount Nebo" and die (Deut. 32:48-52), because he had "rebelled" against God's word. (Num. 27:12-14.) Did the fact that water came forth from the rock and quenched the thirst of the Israelites justify Moses' striking the rock? Did the end justify the means?

Our missionary society and sponsoring church brethren do not seem to be either capable or willing to comprehend the fact that they are in rebellion of unbelief (just as Moses was) when they reject the divine pattern of the "direct method" of preaching the gospel, as set forth in II Corinthians 11:8 and Philippians 4:15-18, and turn to their methods of centralization of church resources, which resulted in the "man of sin" (II Thess.2:3-12), and which has been a curse to the cause of truth and righteousness since the day it began. Do they think that more souls will hear the gospel and believe, if their own "patterns" of centralized control are followed, than would hear and believe if the scriptures are followed? Moses might have thought that he could get more and better water from the rock by his own method than by Jehovah's "pattern," but he was wrong.

Do our benevolent society and sponsoring church advocates think that more fatherless and widows can be "visited" by a rejection of the apostolic order of making every church a refuge for the poor as set forth in Acts 6:1-6, and setting up a system of centralization of which the New Testament knows nothing but to condemn it?

Moses was not permitted to set his foot in the promised land, and God tells us why: "Because ye believed not in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel." (Num. 20:12.) Does this mean that Moses did not believe in the existence of God? Certainly not. It seems that he did not believe that God's way "was a better way to do it" than his own way.

"And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that were disobedient? And we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief." (Heb. 18, 19.)

While some of our brethren today are doing everything within their power to destroy faith in and conformity to God's patterns, I wish that we could persuade them to give due consideration to the fact that, though Moses "got results" by striking the rock, God charged him with unbelief, disobedience and rebellion, because he did not follow the pattern.

When will they learn that "to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams"? (I Sam. 15:22.)