By their own fault, the Hebrew children were denied entry into the promised land and made to wander in the desert for 40 years. It reminds us not to harden our hearts, lest we too end up missing the promise.
Disbelieving the Message from God | Missing the Promise
The people of God rebelled against Him when it came time to enter the Promised Land. They hardened their hearts against Him, and it prevented them from entering the promised land. Many died as a result without ever seeing the fruition of the promise. It all happened because they chose to act on the personal knowledge of what they saw and heard instead of believing the message from God spoken through Caleb:
But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”
Numbers 13:30. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.
The people were too afraid to accept Caleb’s declaration, and in turn God’s, because of what they would find in the Promised Land. True, the land was everything promised, but there were huge obstacles to overcome, giants.
The Rebellion | Missing the PromiseBecause of their fear, they denied God’s plan and chose what they knew over what lay ahead.Click To Tweet
After the people rebelled, God asks Aaron and Moses:
How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me.
Numbers 14:27. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.
Both Numbers 13-14 and Hebrews 3-4 continue to narrate the fate of those who rebelled. They wandered, lost in the barrenness of the desert, denied the experience of the promise.
The Warning to Us | Missing the Promise
Hebrews 4:2, warns us that
…the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened…”
Excerpt from Hebrews 4:2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.
And so, the warning echoes for us today:
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.Click To Tweet
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:7-13. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.
Or else, we too may miss the blessing God has set aside for us as we are relegated to wander through a barren wasteland because of our stubbornness and lack of faith.
For any reason, if we choose our way over God’s way, we too will likely find ourselves missing the promise.