The Israelites’ Unbelief
The children of Israel in the wilderness heard the negative report of the Ten spies (Numbers 13:31-33). And they refused to have faith that the Lord can give them the Promised Land. So, they complained to Moses and Aaron, saying, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:2,3). And they even said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt” (Numbers 14:4; Nehemiah 9:17).
The Lord was very displeased with them and said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they” (Numbers 14:11-12).
But Moses answered, “‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now” (Numbers 14:18,19). The “unbelief” of the Israelites stood in obvious contrast with the faith of Moses and the two spies. Had the Jews been more like their godly leader, they might have been permitted to enter the Promised Land.
Then, the Lord said to Moses: “I have pardoned…but … because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers” (Numbers 14:20-23).
Consequently, the ten spies, who went to spy out the land and brought the evil report, died by the plague before the Lord for causing the whole camp to lose their faith in God and not enter the Promised Land. But the faithful Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who gave the full of faith report, remained alive and entered the promised land (Numbers 14:37,38).
The Ten Times the Israelites Tested the Lord
1-They didn’t have faith in God but feared the army of Pharaoh that pursued them till the Red Sea (Exodus 14:11–12).
2-They murmured over the bitter water at Marah (Exodus 15:24).
3-They craved the food of Egypt in the wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:3).
4-They ignored the Lord’s instruction and gathered more manna than they needed (Exodus 16:20).
5-They attempted to gather manna on the Sabbath and disobeyed God’s commandment (Exodus 16:27–29).
6-They complained to Moses because of the lack of water at Rephidim (Exodus 17:2–3).
7-The committed a grave sin by making “a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it” (Exodus 32:7–10).
8-They complained at Taberah (Numbers 11:1–2).
9-They complained about not having flesh foods to eat (Numbers 11:4).
10-They didn’t trust that the Lord could give them the Promised Land and conquer its heathen inhabitants (Numbers 14:1–4).
Throughout their history, the Israelites have relied on their descent from Abraham to inherit God’s promises, yet they repeatedly disobeyed God and murmured against His will (Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:7, 9). Consequently, this lack of faith is what kept them from entering into His rest (Hebrews 3:19; 4:11). May we learn from their mistakes and put our full faith in God as our Savior.
In His service,