top of page

Why was Moses not allowed to enter the Promised Land?

Did Moses make it to the promised land?

As the Israelites wandered through the wilderness of Zin (picture below), there was no water. The people came together and complained to Moses, Moses and Aaron's response was to run to the door of the tabernacle, and fall upon their faces. The glory of the Lord appears and God gives Moses specific instructions. Numbers 12:8 "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."

What happens next changes the trajectory of Moses' future. Moses, full of frustration and in the heat of the moment, hits the rock two times with his rod. The rock gives an abundant amount of water for all. God immediately responds to Moses' disobedience and says, Numbers 20:12 "... 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."

Why was Moses not allowed to enter the Promised Land?

Moses was told to speak to the rock for it to give the Israelites water, but he ended up striking it two times. Moses' disobedience lead to his punishment of not being able to inherit the promised land.

Why was Moses' punishment for striking the rock so severe?

You might be wondering why God was so strict with Moses, but you have to understand what things were like in the old testament. There was no intercessor like we have now in Christ, in fact, Moses was the only intercessor praying for God to have mercy on the Israelites on several occasions! But who can intercede for the intercessor when the intercessor needs intercession?

This is exactly what Hebrews 7:27 addresses. From Moses to the Levitical priests, every one of them fell to sin just like us. Hebrews 10:4 directly tells us that the blood of sacrificial animals was never able to take away sin, it was all a shadow of the coming Savior Jesus Christ who was the perfect and eternal sacrifice to all sin. The point of the old testament was to make all guilty before the Lord, revealing God's standard was impossible to keep off your own righteousness, Romans 3:19. Thus making all mankind only able to receive atonement through faith in Jesus' finished work on the cross, Romans 3:21-28.

Another reason why God was so strict on Moses was that Moses spent the most time in God's presence and was used in mighty ways, from seeing God's back, to raising his hand and watching the Red Sea part. Moses was held to a higher standard because of what he saw, and how God used him. This is a very common theme in the old testament. From the man of God who was killed by a lion for disobeying God's word (1 Kings 13:26), to king David's newborn son being killed for David's sin committed with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12). God's outpouring and anointing came with a higher standard.

Moses, like the rest of us, was not perfect and there are roughly 613 commandments that had to be kept in the old testament (yes, someone counted!). If a law was broken, sin was committed, and a very rigorous process of providing sacrificial offerings had to be made. Glory to God he gave us this Only Son, Jesus Christ who has paid for all our sins and who is continually interceding for us! Amen!!

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page