When God Swears

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 3:10-11).

A godly (i.e., God-like) life requires you to be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26); no filthy language (Colossians 3:8) or foolish talk (Ephesians 5:4) should ever come from your mouth.

What is referenced here by the Hebrews writer is NOT an occasion in which Jehovah Himself failed to live by this standard. His anger was not spawned by pettiness or a lack of patience on His part. Rather, it was His holy and righteous indignation which is justly aroused by unrighteousness and ungodliness. His words were not rashly spoken, nor did He profane any sacred thing in His speech.

Centuries before this incident at Kadesh-Barnea, God had sworn/solemnly promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that their descendants would enter the land of Canaan and possess it (Numbers 14:23). Jehovah intended to fulfill this promise in Moses’ generation, but His plan had to be delayed for forty more years, because the Israelites hardened their hearts and stubbornly refused to heed His voice. Ten times in two years they put God to the test (Numbers 14:22). Their rebelliousness culminated in the selection of a leader to return them to Egypt (Numbers 14:4).

God had had enough. Therefore, He responded by saying: “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. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: 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. 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. But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. 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. 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. 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.’” (Numbers 14:27-35).

The generation after Moses’ did enter the Promised Land and all the land which God had sworn to give to the Hebrew patriarchs was possessed (Joshua 21:43). “Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass” (Joshua 21:45).

When God swears to bless you, He does IF you obey Him.

When God swears to punish you for your disobedience, He does.

The testimony of the Lord is sure.

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Author: jchowning

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