Story of Wandering/Dying
2 Timothy 2:2 – Hear, Entrust, Teach, Multiply!
The generation that witnessed God’s miraculous acts of deliverance from slavery had received their national constitution direction at Mount Sinai. God’s instruction through the Mosaic Law was very explicit, touching every aspect of their personal, social, and faith lives.
The Exodus Generation
Just 13 months after Israel’s exodus from Egypt, In Numbers, God’s chosen people experience the painful process of testing. The Lord teaches His people the consequences of irresponsible decisions. The coming 40 years of wilderness wandering transformed Israel from a rebellious coalition of ex-slaves into a nation prepared to take the Promised Land.
A Tragic Transition
Israel followed God step-by-step until Canaan was in sight. Then, in a pivotal moment at Kadesh Barnea, they stepped back into unbelief.
“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled,…” – Numbers 11:1a
Israel’s refusal to enter the land at Kadesh Barnea marks the pivotal point in the book of Numbers. The exodus generation was not the conquest generation. Unbelief brings discipline and hinders God’s blessing. The old generation was doomed to kill time for 40 years just wandering around the wilderness – one year for every day the 12 spies were away from camp inspecting the land. God’s judgment was both disinheritance and death. Their journey transitioned from one of anticipation to one of aimlessness. Almost nothing is recorded about these transitional years.
The Joshua Generation
When the transition to the new generation was complete, the people moved to the plains of Moab, directly east of the Promised Land. There, they received further instructions, a new census was taken, and Joshua was appointed as Moses’ successor.
Numbers records two generations, two numbering, two journeys, and two sets of instructions. It illustrates both the kindness and severity of God. It teaches that God’s people can only move forward as they trust and depend on Him.
Talk Thru the Bible – OT Lessons
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Read Numbers 20:1-21:35, 25:1-18
- While still at Mt. Sinai, God ordered a census of all men capable of fighting, twenty years of age and older. The only tribe not counted was Levi, as they would serve the Lord continually at the Tabernacle. The total number of men counted was 603,550. The census suggests a total population of about 3 million, perhaps even more.
- Heading for the Promised Land, the Israelites set up camp at Kadesh Barnea. From there, Moses sent twelves spies into Canaan. They were gone for 40 days and nights.
- Upon returning, the spies gave a divided report. Ten men said that while the country was everything God said it was, there were also large fortified cities inhabited by giants. Their advice was not to enter the land. Only Joshua and Caleb counseled the nation to take the land as their own. The nation followed the advice of the majority.
- List the things God did on Israel’s behalf from the time they were released from slavery to the time the Lord told them to enter the Promised Land.
- Think about the obstacles to taking the land reported by the 10 spies reported to Israel following the 40 days and nights they were in Canaan.
- If you were there at Kadesh Barnea, which side would you be on? Take or not? Explain.
- Are there times in your life where there have been similarities between your circumstances and theirs?
- Did your decisions have a lasting impact on your family? Explain.
Make an “I will” Statement.
- Based on your study of Wandering Dying, what will you think, say, or do differently starting today?
- Who will you tell your “I will” statement to that will hold you accountable.