32. CARCASSESS IN THE DESERT
Have you ever thought of the consequences of sin? Some social sins affects many many people. I am looking forward to heaven where this ugly, destroying phenomenon will be absent for ever.
Please. If you are practising willfull sins, ask God to help you to overcome those temptations. Sins are making us loosers and rob of eternal happiness in a sinless hereafter.
Let’s listen to the Lord’s denunciation of the sins that destroyed His people. And remember; God hates sin, but He loves the sinner.
Numbers 14:26-29 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: 29 The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.
From twenty years old.
Who were exempted? The Levites. They had had no representative among the spies. This is borne out by the fact that Aaron’s son Eleazar, who was evidently over 30 when he became a priest, survived (Joshua 17:4; 24:33).
Verse 30 Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.
Who else were allowed to see the promised land?
Verses 31 But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised.
Is there a verse in the Bible that says we should become like little children in trusting God? May God save us from pessimism and distrusting His promises.
Verses 32,33 But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness.
May God help us not to live in such a way as to cause our children to suffer the consequences of our unbelief. Why 40 years? What is the relationship between a day and a year?
Verse 34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.
Each day. From yom, a word rendered variously as “day,” “time” (Gen. 26:8), “season” (Gen. 40:4), “age” (Gen. 18:11), “when” (Lev. 14:57), “now” (Deut. 31:21), “a while” (1 Sam. 9:27), “full” (2 Sam. 13:23), “for evermore” (2 Kings 17:37), “long life” (Ps. 91:16), “so long as I live” (Job 27:6), “weather” (Prov. 25:20), and “year” (Ex. 13:10).
Yom, obviously, was much more flexible in meaning than is our word “day.” In common Hebrew usage yamin, “days,” was often used for “year” (see Ex. 13:10; Lev. 25:29; Num. 9:22; Joshua 13:1; Judges 11:40; 17:10; 21:19; 1 Sam. 1:3, 21; 2:19; 20:6; 27:7; 2 Sam. 14:26; 1 Kings 1:1; 2 Chron. 21:19; Amos 4:4).
The word yom is a softened form of chom, “heat,” from the root yacham, “to be warm” (see on Gen. 9:2).
Each day was said to be composed of “evening,” the dark or “cool” part of the day (Gen. 1:4, 5; 3:8), and “morning,” the light part or “heat” of the day (Gen. 1:4, 5; 18:1).
Similarly, a year was composed of the cold of winter and the heat of summer (see Gen. 8:22). Thus, with respect to their temperature cycles, a significant characteristic common to both, the day and year resembled each other.
What do you notice in Genesis 8:22?
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Seedtime and harvest, (which is the cold time? And the warm time?) the rest of the verse explains it: Cold and heat.
And now there is a change in the temperature: Summer and winter. And now we go the 24 hour day. Which is the warm part and which is the cold part? The last part of the verse explains:
And day and night
Shall not cease.”
“While the earth remains, the various expressions, “seedtime and harvest,” “cold and heat,” “summer and winter,” and “day and night” are used in this parallel sense.
The first two couplets are the product, or result, of the last two. In the first two, heat follows cold; in the last two, cold follows heat. Note particularly the strict parallelism of the last two couplets, where the heat and cold of the year parallel the heat and cold of the day.
Here (Num. 14:34) occurs the first use of the words “day” and “year” together in a correlative sense, in a prophetic setting.
The spies had spent 40 days searching the land of Canaan and had reported unfavorably on prospects for occupying it. In so doing they demonstrated a lack of faith in God’s promises and in His power to fulfill those promises, yet their report was accepted by the people (see 4).
As a result of this decision the nation was sentenced to 40 years of suffering in the wilderness. The 40 literal days thus became prophetic of 40 literal years—one year of remedial wandering about in the desert for each faithless day spent wandering about in the Promised Land.
That this is not an isolated instance of the use of the year-day principle in prophecy is evident from Ezekiel 4:6, where the same principle is again applied.
God specifically told Ezekiel, “I have appointed thee each day for a year,” and in so doing confirmed the principle established in Num. 14:34.
Moses wrote these beautiful words in the Psalm he wrote:
So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom
We can make a mess up in one day and it may take a year to clean up the mess.
Verse 35-37 I the LORD have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report of the land, those very men who brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the LORD.
By the plague.
Literally, a “stroke.” The same word is used of the ten Egyptian plagues (Ex. 9:14), of the plague following the insurrection of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Num. 16:48, 49), and of slaughter by the sword (1 Sam. 4:17; 2 Sam. 17:9; 18:7). The type of “stroke” here visited upon the people is not disclosed.
Verse 38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive, of the men who went to spy out the land.
By obeying God we receive life, by disobeying Him we receive…
Did the rest of the people accept their punishment for their rebellion of disbelieve?
How are you coping with the consequences of your sins?
A Futile Invasion Attempt
Verse 39 Then Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, and the people mourned greatly.
Was this genuine heart breaking sorrow?
Verse 40 And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised, for we have sinned!”
Did Moses commend them for their willingness to go and conquer the enemies?
Verses 41,42 And Moses said, “Now why do you transgress the command of the LORD? For this will not succeed. 42 Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the LORD is not among you.
Did they get the message? Are we getting the message? God warns us because He loves us and wants to save from disasters.
Verse 43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the LORD, the LORD will not be with you.”
Fortunately the listened to God and accepted the consequences of their transgressions. If only this was the case!
Verse 44 But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah.
Hormah. Meaning, “devoted to destruction.” A city afterward allotted to Judah or Simeon, Hormah is mentioned several times in the Scriptures (Num. 21:3; Judges 1:17; 1 Sam. 30:30).
The line of pursuit is given more fully in Deut. 1:44. Its length suggests that the number of wounded and slain was not small.
Now they seemed sincerely to repent of their sinful conduct; but they sorrowed because of the result of their evil course rather than from a sense of their ingratitude and disobedience.
When they found that the Lord did not relent in His decree, their self-will again arose, and they declared that they would not return into the wilderness.
In commanding them to retire from the land of their enemies, God tested their apparent submission and proved that it was not real.
They knew that they had deeply sinned in allowing their rash feelings to control them and in seeking to slay the spies who had urged them to obey God; but they were only terrified to find that they had made a fearful mistake, the consequences of which would prove disastrous to themselves.
Their hearts were unchanged, and they only needed an excuse to occasion a similar outbreak. This presented itself when Moses, by the authority of God, commanded them to go back into the wilderness.
The Canaanites had heard of the mysterious power that seemed to be guarding this people and of the wonders wrought in their behalf, and they now summoned a strong force to repel the invaders.
The attacking army had no leader. No prayer was offered that God would give them the victory. They set forth with the desperate purpose to reverse their fate or to die in battle.
Though untrained in war, they were a vast multitude of armed men, and they hoped by a sudden and fierce assault to bear down all opposition. They presumptuously challenged the foe that had not dared to attack them.
The Canaanites had stationed themselves upon a rocky tableland reached only by difficult passes and a steep and dangerous ascent.
The immense numbers of the Hebrews could only render their defeat more terrible. They slowly threaded the mountain paths, exposed to the deadly missiles of their enemies above.
Massive rocks came thundering down, marking their path with the blood of the slain. Those who reached the summit, exhausted with their ascent, were fiercely repulsed, and driven back with great loss.
The field of carnage was strewn with the bodies of the dead. The army of Israel was utterly defeated. Destruction and death was the result of that rebellious experiment.
Forced to submission at last, the survivors “returned, and wept before the Lord;” but “the Lord would not hearken” to their voice. Deuteronomy 1:45.
By their signal victory the enemies of Israel, who had before awaited with trembling the approach of that mighty host, were inspired with confidence to resist them.
All the reports they had heard concerning the marvelous things that God had wrought for His people, they now regarded as false, and they felt that there was no cause for fear.
That first defeat of Israel, by inspiring the Canaanites with courage and resolution, had greatly increased the difficulties of the conquest.
Nothing remained for Israel but to fall back from the face of their victorious foes, into the wilderness, knowing that here must be the grave of a whole generation.
I will be back with you right after the break.
We are going to look at the very sad rebellion at Kadesh-Barnea.
We will also look at the sin that Moses and Aaron committed at this very site.
Because of what happened next to the rock, they were not allowed to enter the promised land.
When a leader is at fault, God looks at it as more severe than faults committed by his followers.
If you are in a responsible possition be very careful about they way you behave yourself.
Let us ask God to make us more and more dependant upon His power and less and less on our own strentgh
IDENTIFICATION OF KADESH BARNEA
Although Josephus does not explictly identify Kadesh with Reqem, his location of Mount Hor, on which AARON DIED, AT Petra indicates that Dadesh was in the same area. Josephus also informs us the Reqem was the Semitic name for Petra. After his account of the death of Miriam and her burial on a mountain which they (the Jews) called Sin, he goes to say:
“After purification was held…he (Moses) led his forces away through the desert to a place in Arabia which the Arabs have deemed their metropolis, formerly called Arke (Arken, Arxyn, read Arken) today named Petra. There Aaron ascended an lofty mountain range that encloses the spot, Moses having revealed to him he was about to die.” (Ant. 4.4.7 ss 82-83) Targum and New Testament: Collected Essays by Martin McNamara, page 466.