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So we crossed over the Valley of the Zered. And the time we took to come from Kadesh Barnea until we crossed over the Valley of the Zered was thirty-eight years, until all the generation of the men of war was consumed from the midst of the camp, just as the Lord had sworn to them. (Deuteronomy 2:13-14)

Thirty-eight years — that is how long Israel wandered through the desert as a result of believing man over God. Every last one who had come out of Egypt, and was of of age, perished in the wilderness. In fact, rabbinic sources suggest that some of these people might have died before they would have normally so as not to delay the next generation’s entry into the land. Of course, there was an exception to all of this — Joshua and Caleb.

Joshua had been ordained and anointed to succeed Moses; Caleb was of a different spirit than most. Neither of them slandered the land of Canaan nor presented an evil report to the people. To the contrary, they tried to encourage the people to believe God and to go in to possess the land. For their trouble, the entire congregation threatened to stone them to death demonstrating that the old saying has merit: “No good deed goes unpunished.” Not only that but I want you to consider that these two men, along with Moses and others, had to wander through the wilderness for those same thirty-eight years even though they weren’t guilty.

It is unfortunate but true: God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust and sometimes the rain isn’t as much as a blessing as it is at other times. So why would God permit the blameless to suffer consequences along with the guilty? First of all, it has been determined that His people will suffer simply because we live in a fallen world. Though He will sustain us through the trials, He does not exempt us from them. Moreover, suffering is a prerequisite to enjoying the glory that is to bestowed upon those who are faithful. And so it is that, though they had to wander too, Caleb and Joshua were sustained by the hand of God and they entered the land. So then, we will close today with this passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans:

“If children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Messia, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:17-18)

Blessings and Shalom,  




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