Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why God kept His people in the desert for 40 years

One has to wonder why YHWH keeps putting up with mankind.  We see in so many Torah portions how YHWH’s people kept disappointing Him, over and over.  If they weren’t whining and crying about having no meat or fish to eat, and feeling forced to survive on manna (Numbers 11:4-6), then we see them actually saying these very hurtful things that pushed YHWH over the edge and caused Him to decide to stretch the original FOUR years in the wilderness to FORTY (Numbers 14:34)!

Numbers 14:
2 … "We wish we had died in the land of Egypt! or that we had died here in the desert! 3 Why is ADONAI bringing us to this land, where we will die by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be taken as booty! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?" 4 And they said to each other, "Let's appoint a leader and return to Egypt!" (CJB)

Numbers 14: 32 But you, your carcasses will fall in this desert; 33 and your children will wander about in the desert for forty years bearing the consequences of your prostitutions until the desert eats up your carcasses. 34 It will be a year for every day you spent reconnoitering the land that you will bear the consequences of your offenses - forty days, forty years. Then you will know what it means to oppose me! 35 I, ADONAI, have spoken.' I will certainly do this to this whole evil community who have assembled together against me - they will be destroyed in this desert and die there." (CJB)

T
here were actually TEN TIMES in which the Israelites "tested" YHWH (Numbers 14:22).
  Take a look:

1. Lacking trust when at the Red Sea.

Exodus 14: 10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Isra'el looked up and saw the Egyptians right there, coming after them. In great fear the people of Isra'el cried out to ADONAI 11 and said to Moshe, "Was it because there weren't enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn't we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we'll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be the Egyptians' slaves than to die in the desert!" 13 Moshe answered the people, "Stop being so fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how ADONAI is going to save you. He will do it today - today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again!

2. Complaining about the bitter water at Marah.

Exodus 15:
23 They arrived at Marah but couldn't drink the water there, because it was bitter. This is why they called it Marah [bitterness]. 24 The people grumbled against Moshe and asked, "What are we to drink?"

3. Complaining of the lack of food in the Desert of Seen.

Exodus 16: 1 They traveled on from Eilim, and the whole community of the people of Isra'el arrived at the Seen Desert, between Eilim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving the land of Egypt. 2 There in the desert the whole community of the people of Isra'el grumbled against Moshe and Aharon. 3 The people of Isra'el said to them, "We wish ADONAI had used his own hand to kill us off in Egypt! There we used to sit around the pots with the meat boiling, and we had as much food as we wanted. But you have taken us out into this desert to let this whole assembly starve to death!"

4. Failing to trust that the next-day's manna would be there and keeping leftovers overnight.

Exodus 16: 19 Moshe told them, "No one is to leave any of it till morning." 20 But they didn't pay attention to Moshe, and some kept the leftovers until morning. It bred worms and rotted, which made Moshe angry at them. 21 So they gathered it morning after morning, each person according to his appetite; but as the sun grew hot, it melted.

5. Collecting Manna on the Sabbath.

Exodus 16: 26 Gather it six days, but the seventh day is the Shabbat - on that day there won't be any." 27 However, on the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather and found none. 28 ADONAI said to Moshe, "How long will you refuse to observe my mitzvot and teachings?

6. Complaining over lack of water at Rephidim.

Exodus 17: 1 The whole community of the people of Isra'el left the Seen Desert, traveling in stages, as ADONAI had ordered, and camped at Refidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarreled with Moshe, demanding, "Give us water to drink!" But Moshe replied, "Why pick a fight with me? Why are you testing ADONAI?" 3 However, the people were thirsty for water there and grumbled against Moshe, "For what did you bring us up from Egypt? To kill us, our children and our livestock with thirst?"

7. Building the Golden Calf to worship.

Exodus 32: 7 ADONAI said to Moshe, "Go down! Hurry! Your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have become corrupt! 8 So quickly they have turned aside from the way I ordered them to follow! They have cast a metal statue of a calf, worshipped it, sacrificed to it and said, 'Isra'el! Here is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!'" 9 ADONAI continued speaking to Moshe: "I have been watching these people; and you can see how stiffnecked they are. 10 Now leave me alone, so that my anger can blaze against them, and I can put an end to them! I will make a great nation out of you instead."

8. Complaining at Tav'erah.

Numbers 11: 1 But the people began complaining about their hardships to ADONAI. When ADONAI heard it, his anger flared up, so that fire from ADONAI broke out against them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried to Moshe, Moshe prayed to ADONAI, and the fire abated. 3 That place was called Tav'erah [burning] because ADONAI's fire broke out against them.

9. Complaining of no meat.

Numbers 11: 4 Next, the mixed crowd that was with them grew greedy for an easier life; while the people of Isra'el, for their part, also renewed their weeping and said, "If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt - it cost us nothing! -and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic! 6 But now we're withering away, we have nothing to look at but this man."

10. Failing to trust YHWH's promise to enter the promised land after the bad report from the spies.

Numbers 14: 1 At this all the people of Isra'el cried out in dismay and wept all night long. 2 Moreover, all the people of Isra'el began grumbling against Moshe and Aharon; the whole community told them, "We wish we had died in the land of Egypt! or that we had died here in the desert! 3 Why is ADONAI bringing us to this land, where we will die by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be taken as booty! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?" 4 And they said to each other, "Let's appoint a leader and return to Egypt!"


Yes, it is definitely NOT wise to oppose YHWH!

1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them as prefigurative historical events, and they were written down as a warning to us who are living in the acharit-hayamim. 12 Therefore, let anyone who thinks he is standing up be careful not to fall! 13 No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and God can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure.
 

(The above can also be found in Torah portion 37. )

2 comments:

  1. Shabbat Shalom!

    We can't find any fellowship out in Joshua Tree, Ca. TRF is one of the places we fellowship.

    It is a night portion and a day portion that make up one-day. I think this could be a hint to what was to come. Think about our lives: we are born, we sleep, we wake up-one day mimics one life. As with the day, our life fits the same pattern since Adam and Eve transgressed in the garden.
    We are born (night), we sleep (when it's night), we rise in the morning. This parallels the time in the wilderness. We wandered the wilderness, Israel died, a man named Yahosuah (my spelling could be off) lead the new generation into the land of milk and honey.
    Explained another way: We are born under sin (darkness), we sleep (die - in the dark) and are resurrected (rise with the light). Thus, we are born in sin (darkness), we die (sleep) and are resurrected - parallels Israel in the desert - lead by a man named Yahoshua, or Y'shua for short (and to avoid confusion with "Joshua") into the fulfillment and reality of the covenant made with Avraham.

    Sorry if this is confusing or hard to follow, I'm typing on a mobile device.

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    1. Thank you for your post and very insightful thoughts! What you wrote makes a lot of sense.

      Thanks also for fellowshiping with us. Shabbat shalom and blessings to you guys!

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