Sam AwedaTuesday, August 26, 2014
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(continued from 55)

he sojourn of the children of Israel in Egypt had turned into slavery. God decided it was time He ended it after 430 years. (Ex 3; 12:40). But Pharaoh, the king of Egypt would not allow it. They were however led out by the strong and mighty Hands of God after several demonstrations (miracles) of His power before Pharaoh (Ex. 7-13; Deut 6: 17-25). Despite they witnessed all these, at every difficulty they met, rather than reflecting on the previous deliverances and plead with God in faith to do again what He has always done and bring into completion what He had promised by taking them to the promised land, they grumbled against God and Moses their leader. They became despaired (hopeless). They became low in spirit, dejected (despondent) instead of summoning faith.

On their way, they got to the red sea, which blocked them in the front, while the Egyptian army was approaching from behind (Ex 14). They murmured. Yet, The Lord created a path for them through the water. They passed, on dry ground while the water closed on the Egyptian army and they perished.

Once, they had no food, they moaned and spoke bitterly against Moses and Aaron. God gave them miraculously, flesh in the evening and bread in the morning. They called it manna. They ate this throughout the 40 years, which the journey lasted (Ex 16; Josh 5:12).

They were led throughout the journey by a pillar of cloud, which went before them in the daytime and by a pillar of fire at night. So, they could travel either by day or night (Ex 13:20; Num 9:15-23; Psalms 78:14).

They arrived at Marah where the water was bitter. They turned against Moses, "Must we die of thirst?" they demanded. The water became sweet after Moses threw into it a tree, which God showed to him (Ex 15; 22-25).

A similar event repeated itself at Rephidim. Once more, the people growled and complained to Moses, "Give us water" they wailed. Moses replied, "Wherefore do you tempt the Lord". At God's command, Moses struck the rock at Mt Horeb and water gushed out (Ex 17:1-7).

At Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, there was insufficient water, the people formed a mob and rebelled against Moses and Aaron "Would that we too had died with our dear brothers the Lord killed?" They shouted at Moses. "You have deliberately brought us into the wilderness to get rid of us, along with our flocks and herds----".

God asked Moses to speak to the rock. In frustration, he struck it. And for not carrying out God's order the way God asked it, Moses was not to reach the Promised Land. They had the water anyway (Num 20:1-12).

For the forty years they journeyed, their clothes did not grow old neither did their feet blister (their shoes did not wear out) nor swell (Deut. 29:5).

At a stage, God instructed Moses to send spies into the land of Canaan, the land He (God) was giving to Israel. The majority report of the spies instilled fear in their hearts and they went all through the night wishing they had died in Egypt or in the wilderness (Numb 13). The minority report of Joshua and Caleb, which was reassuring, was despised and the mob called for their stoning (Numb 14:10). The Lord was angry with His people for not trusting Him and He decided to destroy them for provoking Him. The plea from Moses reduced the sentence to the following.

  1. No person 20 years and older who had seen the miracles God had done on their behalf and who still complained shall enter the Promised Land except Caleb and Joshua.

  2. They were to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, - a year for each day that the spies spent on their spying mission for their sins, which will allow those slated to die to do so (Numb 14:29-35; Numb 32:11-12).