Testings in the Wilderness        

God has clearly promised to bless all who trust Jesus for salvation. But today many have some strange ides as what that 'blessing' means. For some it may mean health, strength and success, children who continue to follow the Lord; but for others their time on earth may be hard, with many difficulties, disasters, disappointments. The vital truth to affirm in storm or in sunshine is that God remains faithful 100%. Trials like Job suffered are not sent to destroy us, but strengthen us.

The following is an account of Israel's testings after the triumph of the release from Egyptian slavery. God has recorded it for our learning. Moses, Joshua and Caleb an example to follow, and others with whom God was not pleased for they quickly criticised God and tested him, treating him with contempt. Let us make every endeavour to not to allow any sin to remain in our lives, for it will surely grow to deceive us and harden our hearts against our gracious Saviour.

(Moses prayed to the Lord), "In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now." The Lord replied, "I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times - Not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.  Num 1419-24

The Holy Spirit says, today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways." So I declared on oath in my anger, "They shall never enter my rest." See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.  Heb 37-13 Ps 957-11

Problem or Test   Solution or Result
Surounded by Egyptian army at the Red Sea 14,15 Separated by pillar of cloud. Water divided.
All Egyptian army drowned
Mara - water bitter 1522-26 Wood thrown into water, which then becomes sweet
Desert of Sin (Tzin) - no food Grumbled 161-30 Quail that evening, and Manna each morning.
Don't collect on Sabbath and don't keep any until next day.
Disobedient.  Tried to keep it and sought Manna on Sabbath.
Kept manna had maggots except on Sabbath, when none found.
Rephidim - no water 171-7 Moses struck rock. Given water
Amalek attacks 178-16 While Moses, Aaron and Hur prayed on the Mountain
  Amalek defeated by Joshua in the valley
Moses a long time on the Mt Sinai
Israelites make golden calf
32 Idol was ground up and eaten. Moses intercedes twice
3000 die by sword and many by plague
Taberah - complained of hardship 111-3 Fire consumes some. Moses intercedes
Kibroth Hattaavah
Craved for other food. This manna is so boring!
114-35 70 elders prophesy. Quail 3 ft deep!
But many die before finished eating
Miriam and Aaron talk against Moses
   because of his Cushite wife
   (Midianite i.e. Ham)
12 Miriam becomes leprous.
Aaron pleads for mercy and humble Moses prays for her.
Miriam outside camp for 7 days and healed
Paran - 12 sent to explore Canaan
People grumble when report known.
People had 'contempt for God'
13,14 Excellent land and fruitful, but too strong
10/12 afraid, people mourn.
But Joshua and Caleb say the Lord will give us possession.
Moses intercedes, but God says none shall enter the land.
Presumptuous few went up alone, defeated by Amalek.
No unbelievers will enter promised land.
Korah, Dathan, Abiram + 250 rebel.
Wanted priesthood as well as leadership
161-40 Ground swallows up the 3 and fire consumes 250
Next day the whole assembly grumbles      
  against Moses and Aaron
Moses intercedes as plague starts. 14,700 die
Staffs of 12 leaders + Aaron's staff put in Tent of Meeting.
overnight Aaron's staff budded, blossomed and bore almonds
Kept in Ark as reminder of rebellion
Kadesh (Merribah)
no water; people grumble
201-13 Moses struck rock when told to speak.
Therefore he will not lead people into promised land
Edom denies Israel passage through Edom 2014-21 Sends large army, Israel turns away from them
Arad attacks Israel 211-3 Pray to God. Israel completely destroy City of Arad
People impatient - no bread 214-9 Many die from snake bites
Moses makes bronze snake on a pole
Amorites (Sihon) refuses passage,
attack Israel
2121-31 Defeated by Israel and all his cities
Bashan (Og) attacks Israel 2132-35 Struck him down, no survivors
Balaam  (Moab) hired to curse Israel 22-24 God makes him bless Israel - because God does
Moab seduces Israel to sexual immorality
   and to sacrifice to Baal.
25,31 Each judge had to kill Baal worshippers
Plague kills 24,000. Midianites are enemies - Defeated
God's free grace for all the 40 years
  they were in the desert
295 Clothes and sandals did not wear out.
Provided with food and water during all the 40 years
That they might know that 'I am the Lord your God.'