Hebrews 3:17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
The Bible teaches us that the vast majority of the Jews who came out of Egypt, never entered into the Promised Land. According to Numbers 14:29, every one of the age of twenty and older died while wandering in the wilderness. Why did this happen?
We read in Numbers 13 of how Moses was ordered by God to send twelve spies into the Promised Land in order to investigate its goodness. For forty days these twelve men made their inspection and then returned to the people to give their report.“We came to the land to which you sent us. It indeed flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.” (Num 13:27) Scripture says that they brought back with them a cluster of grapes so large it took two men to carry it.
The spies could not deny that it was a land filled with opportunity; yet many of them also saw it as a land filled with obstacles. “However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large….We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” (Num 13:28, 31 ESV)
Though Joshua, Caleb and Moses did all they could to persuade the people to trust in God, the negative report filled the people’s hearts with fear and thus they rebelled against entering into the land. Then we read –
“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.’” (Num 14:11-12 ESV)
From day one the people had murmured against God and finally He had enough of their rebellion. Scripture says that God was of a mind to destroy them down and start all over again. Yet Moses pleaded with God to not do so. In response to Moses’ faithful intercession the LORD said:
“I have pardoned, according to your word. But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. (Numbers 14:20-23 ESV)
It is with this thought in mind that the writer of Hebrews says to us:
“Take heed , brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Heb 3:12)
The sin of unbelief is a terrible sin and can cause us to miss out on God’s blessings. Join me again tomorrow as we continue to study this terrible sin and how we can avoid it.