Following the death of Joseph and Pharaoh, all the Israelites were made slaves to a new Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Things were harsh, times were tough, they were oppressed, forced into rigorous labor, and mistreatment was common. The people complained and griped, seeming to forget who could and would deliver them. This bondage lasted a total of 400 years. Finally, with one accord the people sincerely cried out to the Lord for help and He heard them. God delivered Israel from their inhumane bondage with plagues, power, and signs and wonders from His Mighty Hand.(Ex chap 1-12).
In Exodus 3:8, God had told Moses: “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey”. Under God’s protection and direction, all of Israel was headed to Canaan – The Promised Land. Remember God had already promised this wonderful land and all its blessings to Abraham (Gen 15:18); and Isaac ((Gen 26:2-5); and to Jacob (Gen 28:13-15). Every descendent of these three patriarchs knew of these promises and desired the blessings of this great land that GOD WAS GOING TO GIVE THEM. But, alas, it did not take very long, even before they entered that land, for God’s chosen people to provoke His wrath. The Lord tested Israel by telling Moses to send 12 men to spy out Canaan, even though He had made the promise three times to deliver the entire land to them. “Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, WHICH I AM GOING TO GIVE TO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL”. (Num 13:1-2).Twelve men went out for 40 days to see the land and upon returning, 10 said we CANNOT take that land citing fortified cities, strong men, and giants there, forgetting God’s promises of help and deliverance. Caleb and Joshua tried to talk some sense into all the people but they would not listen at all. Instead that night: They all Cried out against God, Grumbled against Moses and Aaron, Questioned God’s judgment, Wanted a leader to return them to Egypt, and Determined to stone Caleb and Joshua. God was enraged and in His wrath, the Almighty determined that Israel would wander in the wilderness for 40 years, and with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, no person 20 years of age or older would enter Canaan. This is the land that every generation of Jews since Abraham had looked forward to possessing and they were so close to its entrance. Now millions of those people would never even see it.
Why? Why? Why? Let’s consider three reasons why so many completely missed out on so much!
1-The Israelites ATTITUDE toward the LORD GOD: These people MURMURED against God. (Num14:2). They requested a NEW LEADER to return to Egypt. (Num 14:4). They REBELLED against God. (Num 14:9-11). They were very STUBBORN. (Deut (9:27). They COMPLAINED against the Lord. (Num 11:1). They WORSHIPPED IDOLS. (Ex32:4-5).
2-The Israelites ATTITUDE toward the REWARD – CANAAN LAND: All the murmuring, griping, and complaining these people did showed a complete LACK OF RESPECT for God’s Magnificent Promised Gift. (Num 11:1). By putting the Lord to THE TEST 10 times, they Minimized and Disregarded GOD”S PROMISED LAND as their home. (Num 14:22). They BECAME IMPATIENT with God and Moses and DEMANDED an IDOL to worship. (Ex 32:1). The group GAVE UP very quickly and wanted to RETURN to EGYPT. (Num 14:3-4).
3-The Israelites ATTITUDE toward GOD’S WORD & HIS PROMISES: The ENTIRE CONGREGATION did NOT BELIEVE GOD [Save Caleb and Joshua]. (Num 14:10-11). Israel had not fully BELIEVED OR TRUSTED GOD since the day the Lord appointed Moses to lead them.(Deut 9:7; 23-24). Finally, the people DECIDED GOD HAD LEFT THEM and questioned whether or not HE WAS EVEN AMONG THEM. (Ex 17:7).
Now, here is the kicker to all this sin, distrust, unbelief, rebellion, immorality, and generally disgusting behavior from God’s people. Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey, was only 250 MILES (as the crow flies) from Egypt and it was easy walking on the direct path. Just think of all the anguish, grief, punishment and death that could have been prevented if Israel had only TRUSTED and BELIEVED IN GOD from the beginning.
CANAAN LAND WAS JUST IN SIGHT ALL THE TIME!
That reminds me of a very old song that I sing around the house quite frequently. It perfectly fits the Israelites’ examples we have looked at.
“Canaan Land is Just in Sight”
Moses led God’s children. Forty years he led them; Through the cold and through the night.
Oh, they said ‘Let’s turn back’. Moses said ‘Keep going’. Canaan land is just in sight.
There will be no sorrow, there in that tomorrow; We will be there by and by.
Milk and honey flowing, that is where I’m going. Canaan land is just in sight
Though we walk through valleys, Though we climb high mountains, We cannot give up the fight.
We must be like Moses. We must keep on going. Canaan land is just in sight.
There will be no sorrow, there in that tomorrow. We will be there by and by.
Milk and honey flowing, that is where I’m going. Canaan land is just in sight.
As God’s people today, we also have a Promised Land – An eternal abode in Heaven
A Comparison of Israel Under Moses (God’s Chosen People) vs. We as Christians (His Holy Nation) Today:
Both Enslaved – Israel to Egypt. Us to Satan/Sin. Both had Hardships – Israel Wandered in Wilderness 40 years. We often have a Lifetime of Struggles and Disappointments. Israel had God’s Commandments and Will for them given through Moses. We have the Revealed and Inspired Word of God handed down to us by the Holy Spirit. Israel had a Patient, Loving God who gave them Time to Repent of their Iniquities. We have a Longsuffering and Merciful God who Begs us to Repent and Turn to Him for Forgiveness. Israel had a God who would Gladly Lead them to the Promised Land in spite of all their Mistakes. We have a God who is Not Willing that Even One Soul should Perish but that All should Come to Him in Repentance for Salvation and Eternal Life.
Henceforth; Let Us:
(1) Know our Citizenship is in Heaven and Eagerly Wait for the Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ. (2) Look for the Blessed Hope and Glorious Appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (3) Trust that if God is For Us, Who can be Against Us. (4) Believe the Holy Spirit Who Witnesses that We are Children of God and Heirs of God and Joint Heirs With Christ. (5) Remember the Lord is not slack concerning His promises, but is Longsuffering to Us. (6) Our Hope in the Savior Will Never Disappoint.
Heaven’s Land Is Just In Sight