“And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, Because you did not believe in me to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” (Numbers 20:12).
“The punishment that Moses was given, for striking the rock instead of simply speaking to it, seems very harsh until one realizes that he was misrepresenting God. His action made it appear that God was angry, when God himself had not suggested such a thing. To take God’s name in vain is a serious matter.” (Evans, The Message of Samuel, p 228 footnote.)
Mary Evans has this small footnote on Numbers 20:10-13 in her commentary on 2 Samuel. The note flows from her comments about what is happening in 2 Samuel 14. I’m not that persuaded by her commentary on chapter 14 in terms of the detail and way she has explained the chapter. But I do find this application to the Moses incident to be insightful. Here’s her elaboration upon the theme: “Religious manipulation has never been uncommon and can be extremely effective. If a particular course of action is present as God’s will, then it is easy to assume that that must be so and it takes a strong person to resist such pressure. Who wants to be seen as going against God’s will? This may be why that kind of manipulation is treated so seriously in Scripture.” [as in Numbers 20:10-13] (Evans, The Message of Samuel, pp 227-238.)