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Monday, September 24, 2012

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The generation that accepted the report - the report that said that the promised land was filled with giants and they would perish if they obeyed God and went in - perished in the wilderness. While focusing on the size of the giants, they lost sight of the greatness of God. So God intended to allow the wilderness experience to make this new generation more dependent upon Him, and not upon themselves.

In the wilderness, God led them and tested them so they would realize the condition of their hearts. He wanted them to know that the bread He daily supplied for them was not enough. His Word is even more important than eating manna. Disbelieving God’s Word caused Israel to disbelieve God. The only way to be ready to enter the promised land was to become alive in God through believing His Word. His Word created this world and it is just as powerful in re-creating the hearts of people. Filled with the life of God, through His Word, destroys the fear of giants, no matter how big. God revealed His love to them so they would open their hearts to receive that love, and to love Him in return. Their garments did not wear out, their feet did not swell. God led them through a “great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and a dry and thirsty land where there was no water.” (v. 15a). God gave them blessings and tests. Water freely flowed in response to His words to Moses. All these were to humble them, “that He might test you, to do you good in the end” (v. 16). He did not test them just to test them, but to do them good, to trust Him and be blessed. God gave them hope. He focused on their future life in the promised land, to lift them above their wilderness journey, to give them hope, a goal, an expectation, to believe in these blessings because they were already blest. “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water. Of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of honey and olive oil; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper” (v.7-9). What a contrast to the dry desert with its sand and venomous animals!

 

The desert and promised land represent, respectively, life apart from God and a life flowing with abundant, refreshing water from His life. Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14). God had a burden for those who would enter the earthly Canaan. When they are full and live in beautiful houses, have herds and flocks, and silver and gold; they would foolishly say, “My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth” (v. 17). So in love God warned, “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments” (v. 11a).

 

In the end-time, before entrance into the heavenly Canaan, God says, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14). God invites, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take of the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). Those who have drunk deeply from the water Christ imparts through His Word, will love to keep His commandments (John 14:15), and will joyfully enter the city and enjoy greater abundance than in any earthly Canaan (1 Cor. 2:9). Pride is gone, they are redeemed from self, and live to praise God forever. He longs to welcome you home. So spend time in His Word each day so you can spend eternity with Him in paradise.

 

Norman Gulley

Southern Adventist University