Jan 12, 2017, 10:22 AM
“They will meet their end in this desert; here they will die.” (Numbers 14:35) “They will never enter my rest.” (Hebrews 3:11)
Caleb and Joshua were compensated for their positive faith when God declared that they would be the only ones to set foot in Canaan – amongst those who had constituted the reconnaissance team. “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” (Numbers 14:24)
As for the others the axe fell squarely on their heads: “Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.” (Numbers 14:30)
Lack of faith in God’s power to lead them literally by the hand to take possession of the land He had promised, was costly for the Israelites. By their actions they had showed that they had no confidence in God. As a result, God ruled that; “No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.” (verse 23)
Have you despised God lately by your utterances? Have you doubted His word or questioned His power to save you, to rid you from the clutches of the evil one? Does your behaviour reflect the one in whom you have put your trust? Stop being a mocker then.
There is a price each of us has to pay for disbelief, particularly when we put up a front. We pretend to be true believers when we are not. Instead we are giving God a bad press. God holds grumbling in abhorrence and all through the journey across the desert the Israelites did not stop complaining. “The Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost – also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite, we never see anything but this manna.’” (Numbers 11:4-6) That was their attitude to the daily rations of food God made available to them throughout their journey. In fact they gave it the name ‘manna’ which means ‘What is this?’ They had challenged the wisdom of God to see them through to the Promised Land as He had said. “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’ (Exodus 14:11-12)
Whilst Caleb and Joshua were ready and willing to take the bull by its horns and sought to galvanise their peers to go and face the giants because the Lord was with them, the ten spies did just the opposite with their bad report. Instead of strengthening the brethren, the reports only dampened their spirits.
Everything the Children of Israel had uttered as they prepared to beat their retreat would now be their portion. “As surely as I live, I will do to you the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall – every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.” (Numbers 14:28-29)
“It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) Since the Children of Israel shunned the offer of the Promised Land because of the lofty opposition they had to put up with, they were ordered to make a u-turn heading for the direction from whence they had come. “Since the Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.” (verse 25)
That page was henceforth closed. God had no intention of changing His mind. In fact before they set off again they were informed that the ten spices who had spread the bad report had died. It sent shock waves in their midst; they realised God was determined to teach them a lesson for despising Him.
It is not always that we have time to draw lessons from our mistakes. The Israelites hung themselves after ridiculing God on ten occasions. They never did learn from their past mistakes. The fact is that some mistakes are fatal or detrimental to our well-being. Their stubbornness impeded their progress. One after the other they were going to fall in the desert and be buried. An eleven-day journey turned into forty years of wandering aimlessly.
The following day after they had mourned for the ten, they realised the serious error they had committed and they repented of their sins: “We have sinned,” they said. “We will go up to the place the Lord promised.” (Numbers 14:40) Too late! They had blown their chances and had not realised it. They resolved a forced-entry contrary to the advice given by Moses and without the Ark of the Covenant (representing God’s presence) only to suffer defeat from the hands of the Amalekites and Canaanites.
It will equally be a sad ending for those who during their existence have despised God, the Almighty by rejecting His message of redemption in Christ Jesus, the Messiah. Each of us will have to face the consequences of our sins. Come to Jesus before it’s too late!