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Judgments on Israel in the Wilderness
Israel. Background. Israel had witnessed first hand the miracles that brought them out of the bondage in Egypt, yet they kept grumbling about something all the time. Does that sound familiar? Do you always grumble about things, yet never thank God for His non-stop blessings?
Num.14:22-23 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;  Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: [KJV] . . . Israel tempted God 10 times (Ex.14:11-12; 15:22-27; 16:2-3; 16:13-20; 16:27-29; 17:2-3; 32:7-10; Num.11:1-3; 11:4-9; 14:1-4).
Num.14:29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, [KJV] . . . All 20 years old or older would not see the Promised Land, but die in the wilderness. It happened!
Num.14:33-34 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.  After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. [KJV] . . . Because Israel refused to believe God, they died in the wilderness just as God promised. Only Caleb and Joshua were permitted to enter because they did believe God. This is how God came up with 40 years, a year for each day they searched the land.
Num.21:5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. [KJV] . . . Israel was always grumbling about something . . . like us! We had better take God’s punishments on them seriously. They SHOULD be a warning to us!
ISRAEL’S TEN FAILURES
Israel has failed God time after time. I am NOT judging them, I am just telling you what the Bible states.
Numbers 14:17-23 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,  The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.  Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.  And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word:  But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.  Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;  Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: [KJV]
Moses pleaded with God, asking Him to forgive His people. His plea reveals several characteristics of God:
(1) God is extremely patient;
(2) God’s love is one Promise we can always count on;
(3) God forgives us again and again; and
(4) God is merciful, listening to and answering our prayers.
God has NOT changed since Moses’ day. Like Moses, we can rely on God’s love, patience, forgiveness, and mercy.
The people of Israel had a much clearer view of God than ANY people before them, for they had both His laws and His physical Presence. Yet, they refused to trust God and follow Him after witnessing some of the greatest miracles ever! Their refusal to listen to God made the judgment against them much more severe.We ALL can learn something from Israel's disobedience. The more we know, the more will be required of us. Increased opportunity brings increased responsibility. As Jesus said: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” (Luke 12:48). Consider just how much greater our responsibility is to obey and serve God, since we have the whole Bible, and we know God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
God wasn’t exaggerating when He said that the Israelites had already failed TEN TIMES to trust and obey Him. Here is a list of their ten failures in the wilderness.
# (1) They didn’t trust Him when they crossed of the Red Sea.
Exodus 14:11-12 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?  Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. [KJV]
# (2) They complained over bitter water at Marah.
Exodus 15:22-27 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.  And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?  And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,  And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.  And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters. [KJV]
# (3) They complained in the Desert of Sin.
Exodus 16:2-3 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:  And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. [KJV]
# (4) They collected more than the daily quota of manna.
Exodus 16:13-20 And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.  And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.  And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.  This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.  And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.  And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.  And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.  Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. [KJV]
# (5) They collected manna on the Sabbath.
Exodus 16:27-29 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.  And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?  See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. [KJV]
# (6) They complained over lack of water at Rephidim.
Exodus 17:2-3 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?  And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? [KJV]
# (7) They engaged in idolatry with a golden calf.
Exodus 32:7-10 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:  They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:  Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. [KJV]
Exodus 32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. [KJV] . . . This verse tells us that NO one can take the place of another in God's eyes. If YOU do the sin, YOU do the punishment! NO one else!
# (8) They complained at Taberah.
Numbers 11:1-3 And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.  And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched.  And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the Lord burnt among them. [KJV]
# (9) They complained over the lack of delicious food.
Numbers 11:4-9 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?  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:  But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.  And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium.  And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.  And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. [KJV]
# (10) They failed to trust God and enter the Promised Land.
Numbers 14:1-4 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.  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!  And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?  And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. [KJV]
How God Decided on 40 Years
Numbers 14:20-35 And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word:  But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.  Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;  Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:  But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.  (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.  And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,  How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.  Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:  Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,  Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.  But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.  But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.  And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.  After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.  I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. [KJV]
The Israelites had wished to die in the wilderness (Num.14:2). God took them at their word, and their carcases fell in the wilderness. They were made to groan under the burden of their own sin, which was too heavy for them to bear. God never leaves any one until they first leave Him. All those over twenty years old would die in the wilderness (14:29), because of their unbelief.
Those under twenty years old, God would bring into the Promised Land. God knows the difference between the guilty and the innocent, and He cut the guilty off without touching their children. God never does completely take away His loving kindness. His mercy and grace is part of Him.
Num.21:6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. [KJV] . . . God used poisonous snakes to punish the people for their unbelief and complaining.
Judgment of God
Judgment in the Wilderness
Judgment on Egypt and Pharaoh
Judgement on Godly People
Judgment on Israel
Judgment on Many People
Judgment on OT Kings
Judgment on People in NT
Judgment on the Rich and Powerful
Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah
Judgment on the Old World
Judgment on the Ungodly