Forty…Years of Desert Funerals

Forty…Years of Desert Funerals

Add women and children to Israel’s 600,000 males over 20 years of age and we push the population into the millions. This very large group went from potential homeowners in the Promised Land to tent-dwelling nomads in the desert in a matter of weeks. God pulled the pin on any prospects of an Israelite over the age of 60 ever setting foot in the Promised Land, save Joshua and Caleb. All that Israel had to do was believe God’s promise that he would drive out the people living in Canaan before them—they didn’t! Thus, Israel literally wandered around stateless for 40 long years. Moses, who had spent his first 40 years in Princely luxury in Egypt’s palace, and his second 40 tending sheep in the Sinai Desert, was now going to spend his last 40 years putting his failed leadership training and his forced shepherd training to use. The generation of over 20s who had seen with their own eyes the ravages of Egypt’s 10 plagues and the wonders of Mt. Sinai’s 10 Commandments, were destined to attend each other’s desert funerals—to the last man. The oldest of those that Moses addressed in the Book of Deuteronomy was 60 years old. They had left Egypt as children or teenagers, and the rest were desert-born. Their parents died having NEVER reached their promised ‘rest.’ The writer of the Book of Hebrews looks back on this time and warns his readers that they too were in danger of NEVER reaching their promised ‘rest’ (Heb.3:7ff). He says: “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11). I have no intentions of falling and being spiritually buried along the way—NEVER! I’ll take that “Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His” (Heb.4:9-10).

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