The people went up out of Egypt as a mixed multitude (Num. 11,4), but not a man of them saw Caleb and Joshua enter into the promised possession ” “For the LORD had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.” (Num. 26: 65).
What a warning we have here against sin, which leads to backsliding “little foxes, that spoil the vines:” (S.O.S.2:15).
Who were They that Fell in the Wilderness ? They had been-.
Save out of Egypt. They passed through the sea, and knew something of the God of Deliverance.
They had identified themselves with the ransomed host.
They had been Baptized into the Name of the God-appointed leader,They had acknowledging his authority, and professed to be his followers.
They had been in In full communion. They did all eat of the same bread and drank from the same Rock (w. 3, 4).
What privileges were theirs, but how meaningless their professin doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate:” (Lk.13:34,35).
Let us look at their failure.There failure was great, and brought fatal results, “They were overthrown in the wilderness “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”(v.5) There fell on one day twenty-three thousand according to (v. 8).
The character of their failure as backsliders may be seen in that they-
Displeased God. With many of them God was not well pleased (v. 5).
God’s displeasure may not be apparent for a time, as He is slow to anger, but if not repented of will certainly ripen into judgment. This is the day of grace, but judgment will come “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” according to (Jude 13,).
They were Missing the mark. The mark was the Land of Promise, yet they missed it because of their unbelief “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” (Jude 5).
hey failed because they lost their faith in God.
They had a Untimely Death. Every one of them died, we might say, before their time. God was willing to bring them into the “good land, ” but evil slays the wicked ” according to (Psa. 34. 21).
People who wander in heart away from God scarcely realise how they are cutting short their lives.
What was the Causes of Failure? They are many, but all have their root in heart-departure from the Living God, by ceasing to honour and obey God’s Word.
Their sins are the sins of many in our own day, who have turned aside in heart from following the Lord. they
lusted after forbidden. things (v. 6).
The pleasures of the old unregenerate life are longed for, the bread of God has become cold “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:” (Num. 11.4), and God Himself has become unreal.
Note, they worshipped other God “Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” (v.7).
When any other object is loved and honoured more than the Lord our God, then we are idolaters “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex.20:3).
Whether it be our business, our pleasures, our children, or ourselves. “He that loveth any one or anything more than Me, ” saith Christ, “is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10. 37, 38).
They indulged in social impurity “Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed,” (v. 8).
Soul-withering sin is without a covering in the eyes of God. “Be sure your sin will find you out.”
They murmured at the providence of God. (v.10.) tell us they murmured against Moses, against Aaron, against God’s method of dealing with them, and became discontented even with the manna from Heaven “And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” (Num. 14. 2).
When a professing Christian begins to complain against God’s servants, and to criticise and find fault with God’s Word and message, be sure that in heart they are estranged from God.
Let take a look at the Present Application. These things are all examples unto us (w. 6-11).
All sins, secret or open, have still the same effect in separating the soul from fellowship with God.
Discontent with the provision and promises of God is the spoiled fruit of a doubting heart. Brethren, let us labour therefore to enter into that “rest of faith,“lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”(Heb.4:11).
Let us not be high-minded, but fear” (Rom. 11. 20). “The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1. Pet.4.7).on was “how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a he