Do You Feel You’ve Missed Out on What God Has For You?

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Numbers, as it was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the LORD.More specifically, today’s passage begins with the fifteenth verse of the twenty-sixth chapter and continues through to the end of the twenty-eighth chapter. When you come to the words are found within the twenty-sixth chapter of the book of Numbers you will find the LORD God of the Hebrews giving a second command unto Moses before he would die and go the way of Aaron his brother, and Miriam his sister. If and as you begin reading with and from the opening verse of the twenty-sixth chapter of the book of Numbers you will find that after the plague which the living God had sent among the congregation of the children of Israel after the men had sinned and transgressed with the women of Moab the LORD instructed Moses and Eleazer the son of Aaron the high priest to once more number the congregation of the children of Israel. Now on the surface it might seem like this is repeating itself, and that it is but a recounting of that which is found in the opening chapters of this Old Testament book, however, what we must realize when reading the words found in this chapter is that the instruction which was given unto Moses and Eleazar was a similar command, yet one which was given a second time. WHEN THE COMMAND COMES A SECOND TIME! THERE COMES A SECOND! In order to truly understand the words and language which is found within this chapter it necessary to read and consider the words which are found in the first four verses of the chapter—and not only those words which are found in the first four verses, but also the words which are found in verses sixty-three through sixty-five of the same chapter. What’s more, is that in addition to the command to once more number the congregation of the children of Israel, it’s worth noting the commentary that is expressed within this chapter concerning those who dared rebelled against the command and authority of the living God. What you find within this chapter is so much more than simply the numbering of the congregation of the children of Israel, but is actually a commentary—not only on a select group of individuals who rebelled against the command of the LORD, but also concerning the entire congregation as a whole. If you truly want to understand what is found within this chapter you must recognize and understand it as being intrinsically linked to that which we find and read in the opening chapter of the book of Numbers, for in the opening chapter of the book of Numbers you will find the LORD giving Moses a command to number all those men twenty years of age and older who were able to go forth to war and unto the battle. What’s more, is that not only did the LORD command Moses to number all those twenty years of age and older who were able to go forth to war, but the living God also gave Moses a command to number the sons of Levi who were between the ages of twenty and fifty and who were able to and would serve in the work of the ministry of the sanctuary. Before considering the words which are found within the twenty-sixth chapter of this Old Testament book, I first invite you to consider those words which are written and recorded within the opening chapters of the book of Numbers:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; from twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies. And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers” (Numbers 1:1-4).

“And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names: and they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls. As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai” (Numbers 1:17-19).

“These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers. So were all those that were numbered of the children o fIsrael, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty” (numbers 1:44-46).

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle. And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel’s, to do the service of the tabernacle. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel. And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. And the LORd spake unto Moses, saying, And I, behold, I have taken the Levites form among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openers the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; because all the firstborn are mine: for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the LORD” (Numbers 3:5-13).

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying, Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD, as he was commanded” (Numbers 3:14-15).

“All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward were twenty and two thousand” (Numbers 3:39).

Before you can truly understand that which is written and contained within the twenty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers it is necessary that you consider the words which are found in the opening chapters of this book, for in the opening chapters you will find the LORD instructing and commanding Moses and Aaron to number two very specific groups from among the congregation of the children of Israel. In all reality, we should understand that there was in fact a third group which the living God instructed and commanded Moses and Aaron to number there in the wilderness of Sinai, which was all the firstborn among the congregation of the children of Israel. The main and underlying crux of what we find in the opening chapters of this Old Testament book is the numbering—first of those twenty years of age and upward who were able to go forth into war, and secondly all the sons of Levi from one month old and upward. That which you will find in the opening chapters of the book of Numbers is actually quite remarkable and astounding—particularly and especially when you consider the fact that halfway between the first census and the second census there were two distinct events which took place among the congregation of the children of Israel. The first event which took place among the congregation of the children of Israel was the rebellion and transgression against the commandment of the LORD to go up and take possession of the land, while also at the same time slandering the land which the LORD had given unto the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as an inheritance. What’s truly astonishing and unique to think about is the fact that the living God gave that first generation the chance and opportunity to rise up, to enter into, and take possession of the land of Canaan, and yet instead of trusting in the living God they chose to rebel against His commandment and believe the evil report which ten of the twelve spies brought back to the congregation and assembly. In all reality there is an incredibly powerful truth that is found and contained within the book of Numbers—namely, that there are times when the LORD presents something to one generation, and that generation balks at, shirks, and even rejects that which the LORD has placed before them. We must recognize and realize that the living God gave that first generation which emerged out of the land of Egypt and passed through the waters of the Red Sea the opportunity to enter into the land of promise, blessing, and inheritance, and yet instead of rising up and entering it by faith as they fully trusted in the LORD their God, they instead chose to rebel against the command of the LORD.

I am convinced that in order to truly understand the need for this second census, it is first necessary to think about and consider the fact that the only reason there was a need for a second census was because of a great rebellion which took place in the wilderness as one generation would reject that which a second generation would embrace. This second census which we find in the Old Testament book of Numbers was only necessary because that first generation rejected and despised the word and promises of the living God, and chose to rebel against His commandment, as well as murmur against Him, and even slandering the land of promise, blessing and inheritance. We must recognize that that first generation was given the chance and the opportunity to rise up and enter into the land of Canaan, and to take possession of it according to that which was promised by the living God, and yet instead of rising up and taking possession of the land, they shrank back in fear—much like they shrank back in fear at the mountain of God in the wilderness when they instructed Moses to speak to them, but let not the living God speak to them lest they perish. There is without a doubt a tremendous and powerful truth that is found and contained within this particular passage of Scripture found within the book of Numbers—namely, that the living God can and will present an opportunity to one generation, and yet it is possible that that generation can and will reject that which the LORD their God has placed before them. That first generation had every opportunity to enter into the land of Canaan, and they even had the testimonies of what the living God had done in the midst of the land of Egypt through His signs and judgments, and even what the LORD did at the Red Sea when He divided and parted the waters allowing the congregation of the children of Israel to pass through on dry ground, while causing those same waters to drown and destroy the Egyptian army that dared pursue them in the midst of and through the waters. In the thirteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers we find the twelve spies returning from forty days in the midst of the land of Canaan, and how ten of those twelve spies brought forth and produced an evil report in the hearing of that first generation. IT was that first report which caused that first generation to once again tempt the living God by complaining and murmuring against Him, as well as slandering the land which He had sworn on oath unto their forefathers and ancestors. When you come to the fourteenth chapter you will find the LORD God of the Hebrews planning to disinherit that first generation and destroying them altogether, while making of Moses a nation stronger and greater than they were. Were it not for the intercession of Moses the living God might very well have destroyed that first generation, however, the LORD would indeed pardon that first generation. Despite the pardon and forgiveness of the living God, that first generation would receive a report of the LORD which would produce tremendous sorrow, grief and anguish within their hearts and souls. Consider if you will the words which are found within the fourteenth chapter beginning with the twenty-sixth verse:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me. Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcasses, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD. But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went Nd Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly” (Numbers 14:26-39).

As you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that more took place here than simply the living God declaring that that first generation would not enter into the land which He swore on oath to their forefathers and ancestors. What you find within this passage of Scripture is actually a commentary on an entire generation that would be prohibited and restricted from entering into the land, as well as that generation perishing and falling in the wilderness. What makes this even more astounding is when you think about and consider the fact that at the very beginning of this Old Testament book the living God instructed Moses and Aaron to numbered all those men twenty years of age and upward who were able to go forth to war, and more than six-hundred thousand men were numbered in that census. Within this passage you will find that all those whom Moses and Aaron had previously numbered among the congregation of the children of Israel—all those twenty years old and upward—would fall and perish in the wilderness. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that not only would an entire generation fall and perish in the wilderness, but more than six hundred thousand men would fall and perish there in that wilderness. What’s more, is that this isn’t even including the Levites of that generation who were twenty years of age and older who would have served in the ministry of the Tabernacle at the time, as well as the women who were alive during that first generation. Stop for a moment and consider just how many people would have not only missed out entering into the land of Canaan, but also how many men and women would have missed out on taking possession of the land which was sworn on oath to their ancestors and forefathers. Stop and consider how many men and women would spend forty years wandering int the wilderness knowing that at some point in time over the next forty years they would perish without every seeing and ever entering into the land of promise, blessing, and inheritance. Try and wrap your head around the fact that not only did more than six hundred thousand souls fall and perish in the wilderness, but all those who were numbered in that first census would fall in the wilderness over a period of forty years. It’s incredibly intriguing to think about and consider that a census was, would and could be undone by and with a single declaration of the LORD, as all those who were once numbered as those who could go forth to war would now be numbered among those who would perish in the wilderness. What an incredibly powerful transition would take place among the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel as those who not only would have been able to go forth to war, but also who could have entered into the land of Canaan and taken possession of it would now fall and perish in the midst of the wilderness.

THE SECOND CENSUS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED! THE SECOND CENSUS SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED! The more I think about and consider the fact that the LORD God instructed Moses to take a second census—together with Eleazar the song of Aaron the high priest—the more I can’t help but think that there was an entire generation that would fall and perish in the midst of the wilderness which weren’t brought into the wilderness to fall and die. What we must recognize and understand is that the LORD God did not deliver the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel from their slavery, bondage and oppression within the land of Egypt to put them to death in the wilderness. It was never the divine will, nor was it every the divine plan and purpose of the LORD to cause that first generation to fall and perish in the wilderness. What’s more, is that it was never the divine will and plan of the living God to cause countless more to be put to death by the judgment of the living God upon them. Stop and consider the fact that within the twenty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers—not only do we find a commentary on two priests of the Lord who perished in the wilderness because they offered strange fire before and in the sight of the LORD, but also there were more than two-hundred and fifty men—together with their wives, children and households—who were consumed in the judgment of the LORD as the earth opened its mouth and swallowed when alive as they descended into the pit. The words which we find in the twenty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers not only describes this new census which took place in the midst of the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel, bout it also described the judgment of the LORD which would consume priests who rebelled against the command of the LORD, as well as others who dared rebel against the authority of the living God which was upon Moses. Consider if you will the words which are found within this particular chapter as Moses rehearses the judgment of the living God in the midst of this congregation which was brought forth from the land of Egypt and which passed through the wilderness:

“And the sons of Eliab: Nemuel, and Dathan, And Abiram. This is that Dathan and Abiram, which were famous in the congregation, who strive against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against the LORD; and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign. Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not” (Numbers 26:9-11).

“And unto Aaron was born Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazer, and Ithamar. And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD” (Numbers 26:60-61).

Within the commentary of this second census we find Moses also rehearsing how Dathan and Abiram were swallowed alive—together with Korah—as they strove against Moses, as well as against Aaron. What’s more, is that within this passage we also find how the LORD consumed two-hundred and fifty men with fire which came out from before Him—those who aligned themselves together with Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and On. In addition to this, we also find two priests of the LORD—sons of Aaron the high priest—Nadab and Abihu, who were killed by fire which came out from before the LORD after they offered strange fire before the LORD. Perhaps one of the most tragic statements which is found in the twenty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers is found beginning with and from the sixty-second verse of this chapter. Consider if you will the following words which were written and recorded by Moses in this chapter beginning with the sixty-second verse:

“And those that were numbered of them were twenty and three thousand, all males from a month old and upward: for they were not numbered among the children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given them Amon the children of Israel. These are they that were numbed by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho. But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. For the LORD had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun” (Numbers 26:62-65).

I am completely and utterly convinced that the words e find within this passage of scripture is absolutely and incredibly tragic, for within these verses we find the two census which Moses the servant of the Lord took colliding with each other in a tremendous declaration. As you read the words which are found here you will quickly notice and discover Moses writing a comment say concerning the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel—namely, that there was not a single one from that first generation save Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh which remained. Stop and consider that for a moment, for if you truly take the time to think about it you will find that none of that generation which emerged from the slavery, bondage and oppression of Egypt which were twenty years of age and older were present and numbered in this census. What’s more, is that there weren’t any from that first generation of those who passed through the waters of the Red Sea which were twenty years of age and older which were present at the time of the second census. What is truly astonishing is when you take the time to think about and consider the fact that during a period of forty years the living God wipes out and destroyed an entire generation of the congregation of the children of Israel. What’s more, is that with these words you will come to the realization that the living God essentially and effectively wiped out that which was done and performed in that first census. More than six hundred thousand men which were able to go forth to war and enter into the battle were wiped out and removed from the earth as all their bodies and corpses fell in the wilderness. What makes this even more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that those forty years were intended to bring about the death of one generation in order that another might emerge and rise up in the earth, but also that a second generation would bear the whoredoms of that first generation. Those forty years weren’t simply about one generation dying in the wilderness, for it was also about another generation bearing the sins, the transgressions and iniquities of their fathers over a period of forty years. We dare not and must not miss this absolutely incredible truth, for this is absolutely and incredibly tragic to think that an entire generation tempted the living God ten times in the wilderness and was given the chance and opportunity to ride up and take possession of the land of Canaan, and yet that generation chose to shrink back in fear before the report which ten of the twelve spies brought back after spending forty days in the midst of the land.

I still can’t get over the fact that the living god gave that first generation every chance and every opportunity to enter into the land of Canaan and take possession of it, for the original intention and design of God was that the generation which experienced the exit from the land of Egypt would also experience the entrance into the land of Canaan. It was never the divine will, nor was it the divine plan of the living God to prohibit and restrict that first generation from entering into the land of Canaan, and even when speaking unto Moses you will find the Lord declaring unto him that the entire congregation would know His breach of promise. It’s worth noting and understanding that what the Lord is actually speaking of there is that first generation knowing what it would be like when the Lord alters His divine plan and purpose for them. The living God had every desire and every intention on bringing that first generation into the land of Canaan and to give it unto them as an inheritance and possession, and yet because of the hardness of their hearts and their rebellion and complaining before and in the sight of the living God He had to alter His plan for that first generation. What the Lord would essentially do was cause they entire first generation to fall and perish in the wilderness and to raise up an entirely new generation from among them—namely, their little ones and those they thought would be a prey in the land of Canaan. What we must come to terms with is that what is spoken of concerning this first generation of the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel is true among us in our days and in this generation. Just as the living God gave that first generation every chance and every opportunity to rise up, enter into and take possession of the land of Canaan, so also does the Lord give us every opportunity to enter into His rest and enter into that which He has promised unto us. The living God gives us in these Last Days and us in this generation every chance and every opportunity to rise up and take possession of that which He has given unto us, and yet it is possible that we can rebel against the divine will and command of the Lord through the hardness of our hearts. We would be incredibly naïve to think and consider—even for a moment—that what that first generation experienced cannot also take place and happen with us in our days and our generation.

I find it absolutely necessary to carefully explain and declare to you who are reading the words contained in this writing that it was never the desire and intention of the living God to carry out a second census among the congregation of the children of Israel, and in all reality that second census did not need to take place at all. Of course we know and understand that they first census did in fact take place, but it was never the divine will, plan and purpose of the living God to destroy an entire generation and to take a second census from among the congregation of the children of Israel. LIVING BETWEEN TWO CENSUS! THE JOURNEY BETWEEN TWO CENSUS! I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that there was indeed and there was in fact no need for that second census to take place, for that first generation should have risen up and entered into the land of Canaan. Instead of that first generation entering into the land of Canaan we find a number of them perishing at the sin of the golden calf, we find a number of them perishing due to the Lord sending a plague among them in response to their complaining, we find Nadab and Abihu dying before the Lord after offering strange fire, and W.F. even find Korah, Dathan and Abiram together with the two hundred and fifty of those who aligned themselves with them and their rebellion perishing in the wilderness. The Lord never brought forth the congregation of the children of Israel forth from the land of Canaan with the express intention of causing their bodies to fall in the wilderness. It was never the desire, nor was it the intention and will of the living God for that first generation to fall and perish in the wilderness and that their children enter into the land instead of and in their place. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that fathers and sons should have entered into the land together, as well as mothers and daughters should have entered into the land together. Instead of parents entering into the land with their children it was the children alone who entered into the land instead of, in place of and without their fathers and mothers. How absolutely and incredibly tragic it is to think about the fact that those forty years were spent—not only waiting for a new generation to ride up and be ready to enter into the land of Canaan, but also for that first generation to die and perish in the wilderness. WAITING FOR A GENERATION TO FALL IN THE WILDERNESS! Oh I can’t help but wonder if there have been things the living God has given me to do within my own life, and yet because of the hardness of my heart I have chosen not to move forward with what He has called and commanded me to do. I can’t help but wonder if there have been things the living God had commanded and instructed me to do, and yet because of my fear, doubt and unbelief I have chosen to abstain from actually laying hold of that which the living God has ordained for me in this life.

I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely incredible and tremendous fact that there might very well have been times in my life when the living God has placed before me an opportunity to rise up and take possession and lay hold of that which He has offered me, and yet because of the hardness of my heart and unbelief I shrank back in fear before Him. I would be incredibly naïve to think and consider—even for a moment—that there haven’t been opportunities within my life to rise up and lay hold of that which the living God has offered and presented before and unto me, and yet because of the hardness and stubbornness of my heart I have chosen to shrink back in fear and refrain from entering into that which He has purposed for me. Imagine what it would have been like for that first generation of the congregation of the children of Israel to know that they had the chance and opportunity to rise up and enter into the land of Canaan and to take possession of it, and instead of rising up and entering it they chose to shrink back in fear in the sight of the living God who had brought them forth from the land of Egypt. I can’t help but wonder what it was like for that first generation to spend forty years wandering in the wilderness—not only knowing and understanding that they were wandering with the sole purpose of dying and perishing in the wilderness, but also that they had the chance to enter into the land of Canaan, and now because of the hardness of their heart they would be prohibited from entering into it. What’s more, is that not even Moses, nor Aaron could enter into the land of Canaan, for both Moses and Aaron rebelled against the living God at the waters of Meribah when instead of speaking to the rock, Moses struck the rock with has staff two times in anger before and in the sight of the entire congregation. In fact, as you continue reading the words which are found within this section of Scripture you will find that Moses would be permitted to rise to the top of a mountain and look upon the land which the LORD was going to give unto the children of Israel, yet despite the fact that he would see the land with his own eyes, he would not enter therein. Imagine what it must have been like for that first generation to be so close to the land of Canaan and so close to the promise, blessing, inheritance and possession, and yet because of their unbelief and the hardness of their heart they were restricted from entering in. Imagine what it was like over the period of the next forty years as that first generation realized and recognized that they had been given the opportunity to enter into the land of Canaan and take possession of it, and yet because of the hardness of their heart and their unbelief they were restricted from doing so. I would love to know what those forty years were like for that first generation as they would spend a full forty years wandering in the wilderness waiting for their bodies to fall in the wilderness.

The more I stop to consider the words which are found within these chapters the more I can’t help but wonder what it was like for more than six hundred thousand bodies to fall in the wilderness over a period of forty years. We must recognize and understand that this didn’t include the sons of Levi which were twenty years of age and older, nor did it include the woman who were also present during those days. I can’t help but think about and wonder what it was like as more than six hundred thousand bodies fell in the wilderness over a period of forty years, and as there were more than six hundred thousand graves which came into existence in the wilderness. THERE WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO BE GRAVES IN THE WILDERNESS! If there is one thing we must recognize and strongly consider, it’s that there were never supposed to be graves found in the wilderness, and the congregation of the children of Israel which exited the land of Egypt and passed through the waters of the Red Sea should have entered into the land which was sworn on oath to their forefathers and ancestors. It’s absolutely astounding to think about and consider the fact that there were countless graves which were created and found in the midst of the wilderness because of complaining and murmuring, as well as rebellion against the command and instruction of the living God. Pause for a moment and consider everything you have read within the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, and now Numbers, and consider how many people died and perished before the Lord and in the midst of the wilderness, and who didn’t have to perish in the wilderness, but should have instead entered into the land of Canaan and taken possession of it as an inheritance in the midst of the earth. There was an entire generation of the congregation of the children of Israel which emerged from the land of Egypt and from the slavery, bondage and oppression of the land of Egypt, only for their bodies to fall in the midst of the wilderness as they rebelled against the commandment of the LORD who had in fact delivered them. Think for a moment about how an entire generation witnessed and beheld the signs, wonders and judgments of the living God in the land of Egypt, experienced the salvation of the living God at the Red Sea as the LORD destroyed their enemies before their very eyes, and even how the LORD provided for them bread from heaven and water from the rock, and yet despite all those realities, they would not enter into and experience the land of Canaan and the inheritance, promise, and blessing that came with and was attached to it. There would be an entire generation which would emerge from the land of Egypt only to fall and perish in the midst of the wilderness as they would be unable to enter into the divine rest the living God had for them. How absolutely and incredibly tragic it is to think that rebellion, complaining, murmuring, and the like prevented an entire generation from entering into the land which the living God had promised and sworn on oath to them and to their ancestors.

The question I find myself asking as I consider the words which are found within these chapters is what has kept me from entering into that which the living God has promised and ordained for me. Have there been certain opportunities and certain things the living God has ordained and planned for me that I should have laid hold of, and yet because of the hardness of my heart, and because of my unbelief I was unable to rise up and take possession of it? What within and what throughout my life has kept me from laying hold of and taking possession of that which the living God had in store for me, and what have I allowed to keep me out of and away from that which the LORD has promised and sworn on oath to give unto me? The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews knew and recognized that just as that first generation did and could not enter into the rest which was before them because of an evil and unbelieving heart of unbelief, fo too can we ourselves be prohibited from entering into that which the living God has planned and promised for us because of our own evil and unbelieving heart. You cannot read the words found within the Old Testament book of Numbers and not encounter and come face to face with the reality that what happened unto them stood and served as an example for us. In fact, if you turn and direct your attention to the tenth chapter of the first epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian congregation you will find him writing and speaking concerning the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel, and how what we find and read concerning them is but an example for us in this generation—we who have come after them in the generations of the earth. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the tenth chapter you will find the following words which were written and spoken by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints. Consider if you will the following words which were taken directly from that passage found in this epistle:

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat, and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:1-14).

What’s worth noting and worth mentioning when reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture is that the apostle Paul begins and opens up this particular portion of the epistle with speaking unto the Corinthian saints concerning the power, the presence, the provision and the protection of the living God. In the opening verses of this chapter the apostle Paul writes how the fathers of Israel were under the cloud, and how all passed through the sea, and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all did eat the same spiritual meat, and all did drink the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them which was Christ. Despite the provision and presence of the living God there were many of them with whom the living God was not well pleased. The question then becomes why were there many among that first generation in the wilderness whom the Living God was not well pleased? What’s more, is that if you read the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find that there were even a number from that second generation with whom the LORD was not pleased because they committed fornication with the women of Moab, and engaged in their idolatrous practices of worship. The apostle Paul writes how with many of those who entered into the wilderness the living God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. What happened and what took place within the lives of these generations were for us an example that we should not lust after evil things as they themselves did lust. If you read the words which are written and found within this first epistle which was written unto the Corinthian saints you will find that the account and narrative of the congregation of the children of Israel should stand and serve as examples for us and how we live our lives and conduct ourselves in the midst of the generation in which we find ourselves a part of. The apostle Paul mentions some very distinct realities which caused an entire generation to fall in the wilderness—namely, lusting after evil things, idolatry, committing fornication, tempting Christ, and murmuring. It is absolutely necessary that we read and understand the words which are found within the writing of the apostle Paul, for the words which he presents the Corinthian saints—as well as us who have come after and read those words—are intended on confronting the issues which lie present within our hearts and souls. The apostle Paul mentioned how an entire generation was overthrown in the wilderness, and how there were smaller judgments and punishments which took place among the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel because of their sin and transgression against the command of the living God. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that which is written within the first epistle of the apostle Paul unto the Corinthians is and was intended on bringing us face to face with the condition of our own hearts, and what we allow ourselves to do in the sight and presence of the living God. In fact, it’s necessary to consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in this first epistle to the Corinthian saints in light of that which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote concerning that same generation in the wilderness, and how it directly relates and applies to us. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this epistle beginning with the twelfth verse of the third chapter:

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitful ness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; while it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was He grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12-18).

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spake ina. Certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, iF they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, he limiteth a certain day, saying, in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will. Hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:1-13).

It is quite clear and quite obvious from the words which the apostle Paul wrote, as well as the words which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote that that first generation could not enter into the rest and promise of the living God because of the hardness of their heart, and because of their unbelief. That first generation which came forth by the hand of Moses and Aaron out of the land of Egypt would and could not also enter into the divine rest of the living God, which He swore on oath to their ancestors and forefathers because of their unbelief, and because of the hardness of their hearts. Oh that we would recognize and understand this reality, for the entire reality surrounding the second census was that the living God did in fact keep His word concerning that first generation, and that first generation did not enter into the rest which was promised unto their fathers by the living God. The entire reality concerning the second census centers upon the reality that there was an entire generation which could not and did not enter into the divine rest and promise of the living God, and instead found their bodies falling in the wilderness as they missed the chance to enter into and take possession of that which the living God had prepared for them. There was an entire generation which was given every opportunity to please the living God, and even to enter into the rest which He had promised and prepared unto them, and yet they could not and did not enter into that rest because of the hardness of their heart and the unbelief found within their hearts. Oh how it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that which is found within the writings of the apostle Paul, as well as that which was written by the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews, for those words help further confirm the reality that when that second census was taken there was not a single one from that first generation and from that first census who was present in that census—save two, which were Joshua and Caleb. Stop and consider the fact that there were only two from that first generation which would be leave and remain at the time of the second census, and one of those two would actually be ordained and appointed to be the one who would succeed Moses in leading the congregation of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan. How absolutely interesting it is to think about what is found in the twenty-seventh chapter, and how in the twenty-seventh chapter—not only do we find Moses looking upon the land of promise, though he himself would not enter in, and would actually appoint his successor, which would be Joshua. APPOINTING A SUCCESSOR AND RAISING UP A SECOND GENERATION!

As I bring this writing to a close I can’t help but confront the condition of my own heart, and how there might be traces of an evil and unbelieving heart within me. I can’t help but read these words and be directly confronted with and by the fact that there is a great need to examine the condition of my heart, and a great and tremendous need to confront those things within my heart which could and undoubtedly keep me from entering into the divine rest and promise the living God has for me within my heart and life. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are truly willing to confront the issues of our heart in order that we might lay hold of and not miss that which the living God has promised, planned and prepared for us, and that we would not have within us an evil heart of unbelief that does not mix the word of the living God with faith, with trust and with confidence. The words which we find before us in this passage not only bring us face to face with the fact that that entire first generation perished in the wilderness and would not enter into the land of Canaan, but not even Moses and Aaron could enter into the land of promise because of their own disobedience in the sight and presence of the living God. Oh that we would truly recognize and consider these words, and that we would allow them to confront and convict us in this generation, for what we find written concerning this generation in the wilderness was written as an example unto us that we might not follow in the same steps and in the same path which they themselves did. Oh, are you willing to take a good, hard, and long look at the condition of your heart in order that you might truly understand the condition and nature of it, for after all—the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things, and who can know it? It was the psalmist David who cried out unto and before the living God to create within him a clear heart, and to renew a right spirit within him. Let us this day read the words found within this passage of Scripture and truly examine our hearts in the sight and presence of the living God that we might be able to truly deal with the issues of our heart, and as such be purified and cleansed in the sight and presence of the living God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s