24 ‘O Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do? 25 Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side, the beautiful hill country and the Lebanon mountains.’ 26 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more. — Deut. 3:24-26 NLT
From a human viewpoint, if anyone deserved to enter the Promised Land, it was Moses. When God told Moses to speak to the rock to cause water to flow out, Moses in his anger, struck the rock. Compared to all of the foolishness of the tribes of Israel, this seems like a small thing to us. But God views things and events from a totally different perspective. Whatever His reasons were, God’s answer to Moses’s prayer was “No”. God gave Paul the same answer when Paul asked God to remove “the thorn in his flesh”. We are not sure what the “thorn” was nor exactly why God said “No”, but Paul was assured that he needed the “thorn” to keep him humble. In both cases, God heard the prayer and answered. Not the answer the men wanted to hear, but He answered. The prayers that we humans refer to as “unanswered” are the ones when God gives us an answer we don’t want to hear or when we don’t agree with His answer. Neither Moses nor Paul rebelled against God because of His answer. They accepted the answer as God’s will and continued to be God’s servants. God did not “owe” Moses and Paul anything for their obedience. He owes us nothing and will never be indebted to us. We, on the other hand, owe Him everything and will always be indebted to Him. He blesses us simply because He loves us and it gives Him great joy to bless His children. The good works that we do are to show God’s love to others and to show our obedience to God.
35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. — Luke 6:35, 36 NLT