On the Edge of Believing

14 Nisan coming closer we look at the people liberated from enslavement by the ancient Egyptians but also for the liberation of Jews and goims or gentiles.

Crossing of the red sea

Crossing of the red sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The people of God got freedom after they had witnesses several plagues coming over Egypt. The land was on the verge of going in a disastrous killing situation.  You would think after having seen all the remarkable plagues, the wonder of crossing the Red Sea, they would fully trust the Most High Elohim  יהוה  {Jehovah}. they were guided and could find themselves camping beside Mount Sinai witnessing the earth quaking, the clouds, the fire and the voice from the mountain! After that, the miraculous provision of manna, quails, and water from the rock could still not bring many to go for the worshipping of the Only One True God and letting them still having doubts about so many matters. It fortuned, the first day of the eleventh month in the fortieth year, that Moses spoke unto the children of Israel according unto all that the Divine Creator had given him in commandment unto them. God telling them that they had dwelt long enough in this mount and therefore could depart and take their journey going unto the hills of the Amorites and unto all places nigh thereunto, both fields, hills and dales: and unto the south and unto the sea’s side in the land of Canaan, and unto Lebanon: even unto the great river Euphrates.

Deu 1:3-4 The Scriptures 1998+  (3)  And it came to be in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Mosheh spoke to the children of Yisra’ĕl according to all that יהוה  {Jehovah} had commanded him concerning them,  (4)  after he had smitten Siḥon sovereign of the Amorites, who dwelt in Ḥeshbon, and Oḡ   sovereign of Bashan, who dwelt at Ashtaroth in Eḏreʽi.

They had to know and to believe that God had set them the land before them and that no matter what would happen they should trust God going in to possess the land which Jehovah swore unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give unto them and their seed after them.

Deu 1:8 The Scriptures 1998+  (8)  ‘See, I have set the land before you. Go in and possess the land which יהוה  {Jehovah} swore to your fathers, to Aḇraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Yaʽaqoḇ, to give to them and their seed after them.’

Instead of trust we see that the Israelites have so much fear that they doubt that the road would be safe for them.

English: "Destruction of the Army of the ...

“Destruction of the Army of the Amorites” by Gustave Doré. Jos 10:11 … the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones and than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deu 1:20-40 The Scriptures 1998+  (20)  “And I said to you, ‘You have come to the mountains of the Amorites, which יהוה  {Jehovah} our Elohim is giving us.  (21)  ‘See, יהוה  {Jehovah} your Elohim has set the land before you. Go up and possess it, as יהוה  {Jehovah} Elohim of your fathers has spoken to you. Do not fear, nor be discouraged.’  (22)  “And all of you came near to me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, and let them search out the land for us, and bring back word to us of the way by which we should go up, and of the cities into which we would come.’  (23)  “And the matter was good in my eyes, so I took twelve of your men, one man from each tribe.  (24)  “And they turned and went up into the mountains, and came to the wadi Eshkol, and spied it out.  (25)  “And they took some of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us. And they brought back word to us, saying, ‘The land which יהוה  {Jehovah} our Elohim is giving us is good.’  (26)  “But you would not go up and rebelled against the mouth of יהוה  {Jehovah} your Elohim,  (27)  and grumbled in your tents, and said, ‘Because יהוה  {Jehovah} was hating us, He has brought us out of the land of Mitsrayim to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.  (28)  ‘Where are we going to? Our brothers have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we, the cities are great and walled up to the heavens, and we saw the sons of the Anaqim there too.” ’  (29)  “Then I said to you, ‘Have no dread or fear of them.  (30)  ‘יהוה  {Jehovah} your Elohim, who is going before you, He does fight for you, according to all He did for you in Mitsrayim before your eyes,  (31)  and in the wilderness, where you saw how יהוה  {Jehovah} your Elohim has borne you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’  (32)  “Yet in this matter you are putting no trust in יהוה  {Jehovah} your Elohim,  (33)  who is going before you in the way to seek out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go, in fire by night and in a cloud by day.  (34)  “And יהוה  {Jehovah} heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and took an oath, saying,  (35)  ‘Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers,  (36)  except Kalĕb son of Yephunneh. He shall see it, and to him and his children I give the land on which he walked, because he followed יהוה  {Jehovah} completely.’  (37)  “And יהוה  {Jehovah} was enraged with me for your sakes, saying, ‘You do not go in there, either.  (38)  ‘Yehoshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Strengthen him, for he shall cause Yisra’ĕl to inherit.  (39)  ‘And your little ones and your children, who you say are for a prey, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they are going in there. And to them I give it, and they are to possess it.  (40)  ‘But you, turn and take your journey into the wilderness by the Way of the Sea of Reeds.’

We see that it were the Israelites who requested a look-see at what was ahead. God had made it possible for His people to go away from slavery and to go to a new land which they could call their own. Though now we see that their mind was not yet open enough for the mind of God and not trusting enough in the capabilities of the Most High Sovereign. Instead of believing God they once more doubted the possibilities laid in front of them. God had led them with a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. He had gotten them through the Red Sea in a most spectacular way.  He had fed them with manna and quails and had provided them with water from a rock. Still they were not yet convinced of the Mighty Power of God. No wonder we can see how difficult it is for people today who cannot see those wonders of the Most High.

We do agree that it must not have been easy to walk day in day out for 40 years, but they knew it was their own fault. After all the walking and time enough for meditation you would think they would now have come to the faith and belief everything God promised them. Though still they were not all convinced and many let them be carried away by those who did not believe. The ones who continued to carry their fear, showing lack of trust and discontent, infected the others.

Fear had to be counter-balanced with trust and believing. God let them send spies, like they requested, and the results of their thinking and readiness was exposed.

Num 13:1-3 The Scriptures 1998+  (1)  And  יהוה  {Jehovah} spoke to Mosheh, saying,  (2)  “Send men to spy out the land of Kenaʽan, which I am giving to the children of Yisra’ĕl. Send one man from each tribe of their fathers, every one a leader among them.”  (3)  And by the command of  יהוה  {Jehovah} Mosheh sent them from the Wilderness of Paran, all of them men who were heads of the children of Yisra’ĕl.

Num 13:30-33 The Scriptures 1998+  (30)  And Kalĕb silenced the people before Mosheh, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are certainly able to overcome it.”  (31)  But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”  (32)  And they gave the children of Yisra’ĕl an evil report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land eating up its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size.  (33)  “And we saw there the Nephilim, sons of Anaq, of the Nephilim. And we were like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so we were in their eyes.”

Again the Israelites thought the others were stronger than they and did not believe God would be helping them to conquer them. Afraid of those who looked like giants, the children of Anak which are of the giants. And they seemed in their sight as it were grasshoppers. Although 10 of the 12 spies sent to explore the land had come back, found and said the land was flowing with milk and honey they had such a negative frame of mind.

The encouragement of two of the 12 could not convince the group to go out because the fear of the other ten spies and their influence on the Israelites was bigger. Again the people of God found themselves on the edge of the abyss it seemed. Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel that the land, which they passed through to spy it out, was an exceedingly good land. But this could not help against the rebellion.
They kept fearing the people of the land who lost protection from them God being with the Israelites who as such had nothing to fear.

Num 14:10-38 The Scriptures 1998+  (10)  But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the esteem of יהוה  {Jehovah} appeared in the Tent of Meeting before all the children of Yisra’ĕl.  (11)  And יהוה  {Jehovah} said to Mosheh, “How long shall I be scorned by these people? And how long shall I not be trusted by them, with all the signs which I have done in their midst?  (12)  “Let Me smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”  (13)  And Mosheh said to יהוה  {Jehovah}, “Then the Mitsrites shall hear it, for by Your power You brought these people up from their midst,  (14)  and they shall say to the inhabitants of this land they have heard that You, יהוה  {Jehovah}, are in the midst of these people, that You, יהוה  {Jehovah}, are seen eye to eye and that Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a column of cloud by day and in a column of fire by night.  (15)  “Now if You shall kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your report shall speak, saying,  (16)  ‘Because יהוה  {Jehovah} was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’  (17)  “And now, I pray, let the power of יהוה  {Jehovah} be great, as You have spoken, saying,  (18)  ‘יהוה  {Jehovah} is patient and of great kindness, forgiving crookedness and transgression, but by no means leaving unpunished1; visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ Footnote: 1This is confirmed in Ex. 34:7 and in Jer. 30:11.  (19)  “Please forgive the crookedness of this people, according to the greatness of Your kindness, as You have forgiven this people, from Mitsrayim even until now.”  (20)  And יהוה  {Jehovah} said, “I shall forgive, according to your word,  (21)  but truly, as I live and all the earth is filled with the esteem of יהוה  {Jehovah},  (22)  for none of these men who have seen My esteem and the signs which I did in Mitsrayim and in the wilderness, and have tried Me now these ten times, and have disobeyed My voice,  (23)  shall see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor any of those who scorned Me see it.  (24)  “But My servant Kalĕb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me completely, I shall bring into the land where he went, and his seed shall inherit it.  (25)  “Since the Amalĕqites and the Kenaʽanites are dwelling in the valley, turn back tomorrow and set out into the wilderness by the Way of the Sea of Reeds.”  (26)  And יהוה  {Jehovah} spoke to Mosheh, and to Aharon, saying,  (27)  “How long shall this evil congregation have this grumbling against Me? I have heard the grumblings which the children of Yisra’ĕl are grumbling against Me.  (28)  “Say to them, ‘As I live,’ declares יהוה  {Jehovah}, ‘as you have spoken in My hearing, so I do to you:  (29)  ‘The carcasses of you who have grumbled against Me are going to fall in this wilderness, all of you who were registered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.  (30)  ‘None of you except Kalĕḇ son of Yephunneh, and Yehoshua son of Nun, shall enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.  (31)  ‘But your little ones, whom you said would become a prey, I shall bring in, and they shall know the land which you have rejected.  (32)  ‘But as for you, your carcasses are going to fall in this wilderness.  (33)  ‘And your sons shall be wanderers in the wilderness forty years, and shall bear your whorings, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness.  (34)  ‘According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days – a day for a year, a day for a year – you are to bear your crookednesses forty years, and you shall know My breaking off.  (35)  ‘I am יהוה  {Jehovah}, I have spoken, I shall do this to all this evil congregation who are meeting against Me: In this wilderness they are consumed, and there they die.’ ”  (36)  And the men whom Mosheh sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing an evil report of the land,  (37)  even those men who brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before יהוה  {Jehovah}.  (38)  Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Yehoshua son of Nun, and Kalĕḇ son of Yephunneh remained alive.

Their hesitation and disbelief did not help them to go further instead, this time, it angered God. Their fear caused them to wander and procrastinate and eventually kept them from what God wanted for them. They did it to themselves.

We should take such story as a lesson also for us. How much do we want to trust God? How much do we follow the path God has laid in front of us?

Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, later could tell he was forty years old when Moses the servant of Jehovah sent him from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land. Though he brought Moses word again as it was in his heart, his brothers who went up with him made the heart of the people melt. Because Caleb kept faithful to God, fully following Jehovah his God, Jehovah has kept him alive these forty-five years as He said, even since Jehovah spoke this word to Moses, while Israel wandered in the wilderness. This made Caleb being able to become eighty-five years whilst others had died already.

Jos 14:6-10 The Scriptures 1998+  (6)  And the children of Yehuḏah came to Yehoshua in Gilgal, and Kalĕb son of Yephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know the word which יהוה  {Jehovah} said to Mosheh the man of Elohim concerning you and me in Qad??sh Barn?a.  (7)  “I was forty years old when Mosheh the servant of יהוה  {Jehovah} sent me from Qaḏĕsh Barnĕa to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart.  (8)  “But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I followed יהוה  {Jehovah} my Elohim completely.  (9)  “So Mosheh swore on that day, saying, ‘The land on which your foot has trodden is your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have followed יהוה  {Jehovah} my Elohim completely.’  (10)  “And now, see, יהוה  {Jehovah} has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years since יהוה  {Jehovah} spoke this word to Mosheh while Yisra’ĕl walked in the wilderness. And now, see, I am eighty-five years old today.

The People of God who had received many proofs that God was with them still were not trusting God enough. Like for them you can say the edge of believing is always in front of us. From the fall onwards man got fear. Suddenly they were afraid to being naked and been seen by others. From then onwards fear stayed with man as a natural human emotion.

We should now that above fear there is the security of knowing. There is wisdom and healthy respect which shall be to our are benefit. Though we should be well aware that the danger is always looking around the corner. The adversary of God is always standing ready to bring us in doubt and to give us fear. This fear can shut us down when we don’t take it to God. We should be so convinced that we do not have to fear God by coming to Him with our doubts and questions. With all what we have in Scriptures we should know that we can trust Him. Jehovah is absolutely approachable with honest prayer and provides several means of reassurance. He also has given His only begotten son to be a mediator between God and man. In him too we should trust, that he can talk in our name with his heavenly Father and be our guide in distress.

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Please do find to read further:

Like grasshoppers

Believing in God the Rewarder

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Additional reading:

  1. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  2. God Our Refuge
  3. Actions to be a reflection of openness of heart

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  • Bulletin Articles: “The Wise Joshua Did Not Know the Source of the Problem” & “A Sword through Your Soul” (grantspasschurchofchrist.com)
    Joshua said connected the name of Israel with the name of God, and if Israel suffered defeat, that would dishonor the name of God.

    God then revealed to Joshua the problem, and he fixed it immediately, then Israel went back to winning their battles.

  • The Ages, are cycles within still other cycles and mankind would do well to note this. (onthehillgilayjun.blogspot.com)
    For each Soul has free will to choose to move into their lower base nature and become a partaker in the destruction of Creation even if it is through ignorance.
  • Learning to Stand Still (christianmotivations.weebly.com)
    If the Israelites had attempted to cross the Red Sea before it parted, they would have drowned. If they had fled north to try to avoid the Egyptians, God would not have moved in a miraculous way. God cannot work on our behalf if we continually try to solve our problem when He has instructed us to stand still. Standing still is sometimes the greatest action we can do, although it is the most difficult thing to do in the Christian walk.
  • 23.5 Moses 23, Day 5 (thenotesaregood.com)
    Unlike the King of Moab who rallied his troops in a defensive position to protect their land from their fear of trespassing Jews, Sihon brought out his army to attack – to vainly oppose both the people of God and God Himself.
  • A Little Man Attacking God (between2citiesblog.wordpress.com)
    The Israelites were running for their lives from the Egyptians who were led by the most powerful human king in all the ancient middle east (Pharoah). He was not only perceived to be the most powerful king, but was actually thought to be a god. SO when the people of Israel saw their God opening up the waters for them to pass, and then the Pharaoh chasing them down, this would have looked a lot like the battle of the gods. But, instead of feeling like audience members at a WWE pay-per-view, the Israelites were terrified.
  • Red See (snopes.com)
    On 24 October 2014, the web site World News Daily Report (WNDR) published an article claiming that chariot wheels and the bones of horses and men had been discovered at the bottom of the Red Sea, thereby supposedly proving archaeological proof of the Biblical narrative about the escape of the Israelites from the Egyptians. (According to the Book of Exodus, God parted the Red Sea long enough for the Moses-led Israelites to walk across it on dry ground, but closed the waters up again upon the pursuing Egyptian army and drowned them all.)
  • Exodus 19:10-11 – And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. (church4u2.wordpress.com)
    There is a great need in this season for God’s people to be come into renewal and effectiveness in their faith. The Bible tells us that renewal comes when we are consecrated, or set apart, for the LORD. There is a season to be relevant to the culture around us, and there is a season to stand out. Church history tells us that setting ourselves apart for prayer and self denial can bring us into renewal.
  • Scripture for when you need a promise (notconsumed.com)
    I’m much like those Israelites…clinging to the slavery of what is known (no matter what the cost) and forgetting the promises of my loving and merciful Savior. In the waves of the storm, I can’t see all that God has promised and I long for what was before.
  • God Called Moses The Exodus Story Continues (Part 4 Of 5) (vineandbranchworldministries.com)
    Moses stretched out his hand to the skies. Thick darkness descended on the land of Egypt for three days. Nobody could see anybody. For three days no one could so much as move. Except for the Israelites; they had light where they were living.
  • Kee Teesa: Aaron as Substitute Teacher (blogs.timesofisrael.com)
    Why did the Israelites build the Golden Calf? Barely three months had passed since God freed Israel from slavery, in the course of which they beheld the most extraordinary miracles and wonders: the Ten Plagues, the Splitting of the Reed Sea, and now the thunderous, magnificent descent of God onto Mt. Sinai, certainly not the most awesome of mountains.
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10 responses to “On the Edge of Believing

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