Because of unbelief

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2 weeks ago
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In Numbers 14 we see how God's dealings with that generation reached such a climax that He absolutely abandoned all hope and intention of bringing them into the land. It happened as the result of the undeservedly evil report of the land which rose from the evil unbelieving hearts of ten of the chief rulers of the people. This fell upon the ears of the people like a death-knell; it sounded so true to their equally unbelieving hearts, that they rejected the good report given by Joshua and Caleb. This awful national habit of tempting God had persistently developed by the people from the moment when Moses first announced his gospel to them in Egypt. From the very first they had never really believed God. And although since then He had done so many miracles for them, they still did not believe, but openly rebelled against Him. So when they eventually accepted the lies about the Promised Land, God finally said 'enough'. In grief and anger He reluctantly pronounced judgement upon them and refused to let them go one step further towards their goal; instead He turned them all to wandering in the wilderness, and the responsible males to death. It was all so paradoxical; the exact opposite of all their original hopes and the absolute antithesis of all God's promises. Virtually a whole generation of males and multitudes of females lost the promises and missed the blessing. Worse still, for the next forty years the entire nation, including many innocent children, became nomads; homeless, frustrated roamers, bitter of soul and sick at heart because of deferred hope.

It was because of this that the passage of Jordan had become necessary. It need not to have taken place at all, had the 'first-born' been true to their calling; it only became necessary to the second generation because of their forefathers' unbelief. As a result it is written into scripture as an event which took place in the nation of Israel quite separate in time from the crossing of the Red Sea. But it need not be thought, nor ought it to be taught, that by this God intends to convey to the reader the idea of a second experience through which all people must pass, for He had never originally planned it so. He plainly intended that the actual people He brought out of Egypt should enter Canaan, as Exodus 3:7, 8, 16-18 and 6:1-8 clearly shew; why then, we may ask, did it not happen as God intended?

God does not make promises without intending to keep them. When He originally promised the land to Abraham, He brought him into it. To whom God makes promises, He commits Himself thereby to fulful those promises; He is not a man that He should lie. That first generation of men who refused to go into the land sealed their own doom. God's refusal to let them enter later was manifestly right also; what happened subsequently in the wilderness was proof enough that He was absolutely justified in His action. All the sin lying latent in their hearts was fully manifested under wilderness conditions. Although it was not seen when God made the decision to turn them into the wilderness, it was nevertheless there, and had been from the very beginning. Sin and rebellion lay in their very nature; despite all God's love, they could not believe and so they could not enter in. But God is faithful; He keeps His promise to the faithful heart; so in the second generation He brought the nation again to the borders of the land of His choice for them. This time they who had been robbed of the blessings by their fathers' sin, had the opportunity to enter in to what their fathers had rejected. The choice was theirs now. They had sought the Promised Land long enough, now for the first time they were to have opportunity to believe, obey and enter for themselves.

When a person seeks truth for the truth's sake and not in order to explain personal experience, it is often seen that what may have been reached or gained in some experience subsequent to conversion was what God intended to be obtained in the original experience and, for His will in the matter, was there to be taken at that time. Certainly when seeking principles of truth in matters of Bible interpretation, it becomes increasingly clear that the crossing of Jordan should not be preached doctrinally as a second experience properly so-called. Neither should it be taught as being an experience different from, subsequent to and consequent upon new birth. At first glance it may appear to permit of such interpretation, but closer examination of the facts makes it obvious that it was neither a second nor a first experience.

The One Baptism (pp. 46-48)


updated by @admin: 01/14/23 03:27:08AM

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