The boss is never late but delayed, they say. Thus, this display of semantic gymnastics encapsulates the impunity of power, widening the already yawning chasm between boss and underling. Both must never be late. The underling achieves this by effort and the boss achieves this by position: how dare you question me! Imagine a recently bereaved boss slightly deviating from policy in a fit of rage in the face of insensitive ungrateful underlings. Understandable, right?
Moses and Aaron found that the boss can be late. Recently bereaved, they found themselves surrounded by the Israelites in a fresh bout of incessant complaining and specious accusations. In a fit of rage, Moses struck a rock he had been instructed to speak to. After decades of selfless leadership, surely they could be forgiven this slight deviation, but no! They were excused from crossing over into Canaan. The reason was given: misrepresentation of God due to lack of trust (See Numbers 20:12).
The pagan deities were a capricious hostile gang who were approached with trembling caution. Jehovah was different. He proactively sought out His people’s company with more patience than a snail. Yes, He did thunder at times but that was only when it was necessary to get them to take Him seriously (Exodus 20:20). His deep desire was that they only speak to Him when they needed something without resorting to theatrics. By introducing impatient anger and theatrics, the two brothers had spoiled all that and made God seem like just another heathen deity instead of distinct (another word for Holy).
Thus, to preserve the project, God delivered the verdict.
The project is still in place today. God is proactively seeking companionship with humanity and has entrusted us with communicating this to the world. Too many of us misrepresent Him just like Moses and Aaron did. We often make Him out to be an inaccessible sour-faced tyrant with no hobbies besides churning out impossible rules at whim or a sentimental doting grandfather never daring to disagree with anybody. If the God we represent is untiring in His faithfulness and goodness, we ought to be too. This we achieve, not by bootstrapping ourselves to righteousness but by reliance on Him. You are a boss. Don’t be late.