“And the Lord heard your words and was angered, and he swore, ‘Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to give to your fathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it, and to him and to his children I will give the land on which he has trodden, because he was wholly followed the Lord!’ Even with me the Lord was angry on your account and said, ‘You also shall not go in there. Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. But as for you, turn, and journey into the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea.'”
There are a great deal of directions that can be taken with such a large swath of Scripture, but I will stick to the overall theme here and get into deeper theology and mullings in a third post. So to hit all of it up-front; Though God was fulfilling His promise made to Abraham quite some time ago, He allowed the Israelites to do things they thought was wise in their own eyes (why did they not consider Him in prayer?), secondly, Israel’s rebellion came from a poor understanding of God due to their hardness of heart despite the clear evidence contrary to such understandings. Thirdly, despite their hardness of heart and doom to die in the desert, God allows this generation to lead and raise up their own children, and as a whole nation, God show’s them His goodness (though He need not prove Himself to these people).
We see at the forefront Moses explaining in his 30 chapter long sermon how this nation came about a structure of government. He called the nation to choose their respective leaders by tribes to represent the nation as a whole before Moses and God; they did so seeing this as a good thing to do. But here we also see the shadow of Christ reveal Christ’ magnitude in power by his weakness. Moses could not carry the burden of a single nation of people, whereas Christ can carry the burdens of all the nations. Moses cannot bear patiently with Israel’s foolishness, yet Christ is always patient with all the fools of all the nations under His name. Indeed Moses did a great deal of amazing works and was a figure that God used greatly to bring about His great work in Christ’ ministry, death, and resurrection. But even greater still is Christ, our King. It is also worth noting here for those who see God is favoring only the Jews at this time, the leaders of all the tribes were charged to deal without partiality on all cases brought against them, whether a gentile (the word “alien” is used here, but all those outside of Jew’s were Gentiles) or a Jew.
Israel sinned against God with their stiff hearts towards Him, portraying Him over and over again as a mean task-master, an evil God (Matthew 25:24 rings a bell). Here are some examples:
When Pharaoh Drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians’ were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the People of Israel cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came up to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”
Israel cultivated in their own hearts, since their journey out of Egypt and to the land of Canaan, a lie that God was not good, rather that He freed them so He could be the one to wipe them all out. Some of us do this all the time, such phrases like “of course that happened…”, “No surprises there”, and any other phrases that indicate the inevitable junk you have to deal with in life. What is it for you? What area of your life do you find this kind of thinking come up for you? Why do you believe that God isn’t good in this area? See it for what it is, you are spitting in God’s face and calling Him evil, not good. That His gift of salvation isn’t good enough because of x, y, z didn’t happen as well. What more can you ask for beyond the life, death, and resurrection of His Son? Whom He raised and watched over only to later unleash His wrath on His own son, crushing Him beneath the weight of the responsibility for Sin.
We will end here; this blog is long enough and much to think on. I hope to have the conclusion of this segment of Scripture up by tomorrow mid-day. We will walk through how gracious and patient God is with Israel in the midst of all this, and explore how He does the same towards us today.
Indeed He is our precious King!