• Joseph Durso

An 11-Day Journey that Took 40 Years

A Godly Perspective

The Best Perspective is through God's Eyes

Perspective is everything! Like the man standing on the water bottle, appearance can be very deceiving. In reality, the man in the picture is in the distance and has an average size. The text for this article is from Deuteronomy one, verse one and following, where we read, "These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Disahab."

Deuteronomy means the second giving of the law. Forty years earlier, God gave Moses His law for the first time. In this account of that time, we read, "It is eleven day's journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. In the fortieth year..." By God's inspiration, Moses made a bold and revealing statement. Something has gone extremely wrong when an eleven-day journey turns into forty years.

Twelve spies brought back a report of fruitful land filled with giants and mighty people. In verses 26 and 27, Moses recounts what came next, "Yet you were unwilling to go up; instead you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God; and you grumbled in your tents and said, 'Because the LORD hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to hand us over to the Amorites to destroy us."

As a result of the people's hardness of heart and contempt for God, who delivered out of every trial in Egypt, God said to Moses, "Then the LORD heard the sound of your words, and He was angry and swore an oath, saying, 'Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers..." That is, except for Caleb and Joshua.

Sometimes preachers or teachers want to turn these people into a picture of the Christian life, but that is out of context. The image of Israel from Deuteronomy 1 and throughout the Old Testament is a people without joy, contentment, godly peace, and especially without saving faith. God's rejection is not a picture of the saved people. They lived for the here and now without any thought of eternity. They complained all the time and eventually drove even Moses to sin. They never ceased from idolatry and brought forth God's anger time and again.

The great warning to the church from this passage and the Old Testament is that we do not forget we are called out. The test of a Christian is transformation. To live like the world, with all its hatred for God, idolatries, immoralities, and unbelief, is to reveal that a person is a believer in name only and not a believer at all. The Church fails significantly when godly Christian leaders and members do not take the New Testament commands of discipline and corrections from Matthew 18: 15-18, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Galatians 6:1-5, and 2 John 7-11, to mention a few, seriously to keep the Church pure.

Evangelism is good but not fellowshipping together, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. God hates it when believers share fellowship and worship with unbelievers. God hates such a connection because an unbeliever cannot represent God's salvation. Therefore, consider the words carefully from the writer to the Hebrews. "Take care, brothers and sisters, that there will not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another every day, as long as it is still called "today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."

"For we have become partakers of Christ if we keep the beginning of our commitment firm until the end, while it is said, "Today, if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me." For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief." (Hebrews 3:12-19)

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Gospel Light I agree with the Westminister Shorter Catechism, which begins by asking the question. What is the chief end of man? And the answer given is simply this: Man's chief end is to glorify God