Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. Numbers 14:30 (NIV)
I find this verse very solemn. The people of Israel had been slaves in Egypt. God had brought them out of Egypt, set them free from slavery and was leading them to the promised land. They had seen mighty miracles of God as God overcame all of the Egyptian Gods for that is what God was doing in all the plagues that hit Egypt.
Finally, they were forced out by the Egyptians for God had brought death to all the families of Egypt in their firstborn if there was no blood above the door as the angel of death passed over. One would think that they would learn that God is faithful, he does what he says he will do.
Once the people of God had left, Pharaoh’s hard heart caused him to change his mind. I presume he and suffered all the plagues and the death of his firstborn like the rest of the nation, yet he was determined not to let the people of Israel go. He still wanted slave labour at any price. He, therefore, sent the soldiers after them to bring them back.
The sea lay before the people of Israel and the Egyptian army was behind them. There was no place for the people of Israel to go. God parted the sea and told them to cross. The sea must have seemed like walls of water. It could fall upon them at any minute, except for Gods promise and I think they must have crossed with some fear and trepidation, but cross they did. Their first footsteps must have been terrifying, but as they went on, they would have kept going building more and more confidence as they walked across on dry land.
God then went to provide for them. The cloud during the day and the pillar of fire by night to guide them and he provided food for them. One would think that they had complete confidence in God and his promises.
However as they were on the border of the land God had promised, Moses sent 12 spies. Only two of them came back with confidence that God would do as he promised and enable them to take the land. The people listened to the 10 who disheartened them. They had experienced mighty miracles that had brought them thus far. They should have kept going, but they did not and God told them that because of their unbelief, that generation would not enter the promised land except for Caleb and Joshua who were the two spies who encouraged the people. God honoured their faith.
All of those people wandered about in the wilderness for 40 years because of unbelief, and as God had said, only Caleb and Joshua who had honoured God entered the promised land what of our faith. Does it only go so far and no further?
Do we get discouraged and turn away from God, or are we more like Caleb and Joshua who trusted God in all circumstances?. Past experience of God is no substitute for experiencing his goodness and trusting in him today.