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Breezin’ Through the Bible #6, The Journey

October 21, 2013

Parents with small children squabbling and complaining in the back seat of a car soon learn the longer the journey, the more patience is needed. Fortunately for the Israelites, God and Moses had an ample supply.

On the 20th day of the 2nd month of the 2nd year, the Isreaelites set out from the desert of Sinai to the desert of Paran. The 12 tribes, named after the 12 sons of Jacob were guided by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. The people complained about the hardships of the journey. When the people wanted meat, God sent quail, but he sent a plague on the complainers. When they wanted water, God told Moses to speak to a rock. Instead, an impatient Moses struck the rock with his staff, angering God. “Because you did not trust in me,” said God to Moses, “you shall not bring this assembly into the promised land I have given them.

Moses sister Miriam and his brother Aaron began to talk against Moses. They were resentful that God favored their younger brother, and they disliked his wife. God was displeased. He caused Miriam to be plagued with leprosy, but Moses convinced God to reduce the punishment.

Moses sent men from each of the 12 tribes to explore the region of Canaan. They returned after 40 days, reporting a land of milk and honey occupied by a race of giants that would be difficult to overcome. The report caused great anxiety among the people, but Joshua, son of Nun and Caleb, son of Jephunneh, argued that with the guidance of God nothing was impossible.

The Lord asked Moses, “How long with this wicked people grumble against me?” He declared that none would enter the Promised Land except Joshua and Caleb. The israelites would be shepherds in the wilderness 40 years, and their bodies would remain there.

While Israel was staying in Shattim, the men began sexual immorality with Moabite women and worshiped their gods. An angry God sent a plague, killing 24,000 people. At the end of 4 years all of the original Israelites who fled Egypt had died, and Moses knew his time had come. He anointed Joshua to be the next leader, telling him not to be afraid or discouraged, for God would be with him. Moses told the people to “love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” The journey was long and the reward invisible to them. Perhaps Moses wondered if his people had the courage to obey God’s commands.

Then Moses climbed Mt. Nebo, across from Jericho, and viewed the land below. The Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Moses died and was buried in Moab. No one knows exactly where. No prophet had ever been like Moses, for he knew the Lord face to face, and with the Lord’s help he led his people to the Promised Land.

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