“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life ... Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16–18, ESV). God doesn’t condemn anyone to hell, but those who reject God’s grace, forfeit life and choose death.
When the Israelites followed the ten faithless and rebellious spies, they chose to die. When they refused to enter the land of promise, they chose to wander in the wilderness. They rejected God’s grace and chose death.
The Lord declared, “as I live and as the whole earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, none of the men who have seen my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested me these ten times and did not obey me, will ever see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have despised me will see it” (Numbers 14:21–23).
It sounded harsh. “Your corpses will fall in this wilderness—all of you who were registered in the census, the entire number of you twenty years old or more—because you have complained about me. I swear that none of you will enter the land I promised to settle you in, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. I will bring your children whom you said would become plunder into the land you rejected, and they will enjoy it. But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. Your children will be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years and bear the penalty for your acts of unfaithfulness until all your corpses lie scattered in the wilderness” (Numbers 14:29–33).
That’s exactly what happened. In the next forty years, everyone who was twenty years old when they crossed the Red Sea, died in the wilderness. Think about that. There were “about six hundred thousand able-bodied men” (Exodus 12:37) who crossed the Red Sea and probably just as many women. That means that one-million, two-hundred-thousand Israelites were interred in Sinai’s sand. One-million, two-hundred-thousand! How many graves were dug every day?
The Israelites had enjoyed a front-row seat to view God’s matchless greatness. They had witnessed the ten unimaginable plagues. They had walked through the Red Sea on dry land and then watched as God unleashed the water that destroyed the Egyptian army. They watched Joshua and the army of brick-makers defeat the Amalekites. They drank water that gushed from a rock and ate bread from heaven. And they had followed the visible Presence of the Living God, the Pillar of Fire and Clouds, through the wilderness wasteland. They were free because God had liberated them. They were alive because God had protected them and provided for them. But they refused to enter the Promised land and instead chose death in the wilderness.
Today, we stand at a new Kadesh, the place of decision. It’s a “Y” in the road. Choose!
Don’t reject God’s grace Accept His free gift. Let’s follow Him to the land of promise.