Testing God

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me and saw My works forty years. Therefore, I was angry with that generation and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ So, I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’” (Hebrews 3:7-11).

A war of wills with God always ends in utter defeat. From Pi Hahiroth on the west bank of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:9-12) to Kadesh-Barnea on the border of the Promised Land (Numbers 13:26, 14:1-4) about two years later, Moses’ generation—who had seen every one of the ten plagues/proofs of Jehovah’s power and sovereignty—hardened its heart to God’s voice.

After complaining about the pursuing Egyptians and the “certain death” they faced at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:10-12), they complained against Moses three days later because of a lack of drinkable water (Exodus 15:22-25).

In their trek through the Wilderness of Zin—less than three months after leaving Egypt (Exodus 19:1-2)—they camped at Rephidim and contended with Moses about water again (Exodus 17:1-7).

After receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, they convinced Aaron to build a golden calf for them to worship, in open defiance to the first two commandments (Exodus 20:1-4). About three thousand people died that day (Exodus 32:1-29).

They left Mount Sinai on the twentieth day of the second month in the second year (Numbers 10:11); shortly thereafter, the people complained and were punished. The fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp (Numbers 11:1-3).

After this, another complaint arose over their provisions; it was punished with a very great plague (Numbers 11:4-34).

This ongoing hardening of their hearts culminated in their refusal to conquer the Promised Land as Jehovah commanded them to (Numbers 14:1-4). Therefore, the ten spies who brought back a bad report about the land died by the plague before the Lord (Numbers 14:36-37), and God swore in His wrath “They shall not enter My rest”.

They did not.

The descendants of Abraham had tried God’s patience one time too many. Like a stubborn and spoiled child who thrives on a perpetual war of wills with adults, Israel’s addiction to rebelling against God’s voice resulted in forty years of wandering and a wilderness with 603,548 graves (Numbers 2:32). Of that generation, only Joshua and Caleb entered the land flowing with milk and honey.

Hardening your heart to God’s voice and trying His patience are never wise.

Testing God because of a hard heart and a stubborn will is one test you will always fail.

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Author: jchowning

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