Numbers 14:5-9,11-12,17-22,24,34,41-43 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel. Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”... And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them? I will disown them and destroy them with a plague. Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are!”... “Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.” Then the Lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice... But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land... “‘Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years—a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have me for an enemy’... But Moses said, “Why are you now disobeying the Lord’s orders to return to the wilderness? It won’t work. Do not go up into the land now. You will only be crushed by your enemies because the Lord is not with you. When you face the Amalekites and Canaanites in battle, you will be slaughtered. The Lord will abandon you because you have abandoned the Lord.”
As we read through this chapter, we see God's wrath clearly and traces of His mercy but how can an all-seeing and all-loving God permit the Israelites to suffer so much?
This passage is such a scary one because it reveals our character when pushed against the wall. We are a resilient people but for the most part, we are a people who trust ourselves before we can trust God who is alive and living among us!
The people of Israel are no different from us today in every way. Culturally, by education and progressively they might be very different from us but their heart is reflective of ours even today, 1000s of years later.
They complained because they felt that they could not enter the land God had brought them to because of the giants living in the land and they did not trust God who lived among them and provided their every need.
When Caleb and and Joshua themselves went before them to testify of how God would take them through, they wanted to have nothing to do with them because they feared man more than God.
For a God who has been so patient regardless of the repeated sinfulness of the people He was trying to rescue, this was the end of His patience and the beginning of His wrath, a result no person would want to ever suffer.
10 of the 12 leaders dropped dead, mercy was only shown to Joshua and Caleb, instructions were given about them having to undergo 40 years of exile in the harsh desert for ignoring 40 days of evidencing where God would take them and yet the people rebelled against God again!
It might be easy for us to disassociate with these hard-hearted people saying we would never do this but are we really any different from them?
The 2009 recession nearly wiped out economies around the world and barely 2 years later, we seem to be getting back to our old ways with a passion for disaster.
Lessons that we learn are taught as history to our children but do we really learn anything from them? What hope is there for humanity if we are naturally bound to ruin everything we put our hands to?
Our only hope is God through His son Jesus Christ who gave up His life to die as our permanent sin-offering and rose from the grave to give us an eternity in His presence.
We can choose to live by the leading of the blind world around us or be guided to God who lives in us when we call on Him in humble submission.
Are you saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and living a life directed by His Holy Spirit in you?
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In His Loving Service,
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