AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, 'THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.'"Hebrews 3:11(NASB)
Israel's wandering in the wilderness was the result of unbelief and rebellion. God had brought them out of Egypt and was ready to give them great victory in the Promised Land, but disobedience caused their entrance into the land of promise to be delayed for forty years. Instead of trusting God to fight the giants in the land, their faith in God failed, and He swore in His wrath they would not enter His promised rest.
This event is recorded in Numbers and is referenced in both Old and New Testaments as a warning NOT to follow in Israel's apostate footsteps. Though saved from Egyptian slavey, they failed to receive all that God had planned for them. They had been redeemed from Egyptian bondage, but had to live a defeated and barren life, wandering aimlessly around the desert.
Israel's failure to enter God's rest is a cautionary tale which warns Christians not to follow their example of unbelief: Redeemed but living a defeated life on earth; Saved, but forfeiting all that God planned to do in us and through us during our journey in life; Saved from eternal death by faith in Christ, but living a defeated Christian life and forfeiting our spiritual inheritance.
Despite witnessing God's amazing power in bringing them out of Egypt and in-spite of the destruction of their enemies in the Red Sea, Israel lost faith in God's power to defeat the giants of Canaan and the victory they could have enjoyed was forfeited forever. Because of their unbelief, the entire generation was buried in the wilderness, never having enjoyed the 'rest' the Lord had promised them.
Some people mistakenly assume that this faithless generation of Israel who were denied entrance into the Promised Land must have lost their salvation. But it was not salvation that was lost, but the sufficient strength that God supplies to all His redeemed children. Because of unbelief, they forfeited the power to live a victorious life when surrounded by trials and difficulties.
The warning of this cautionary tale is that we do not to lose faith in the precious promises of God, for He has promised that His grace is sufficient in every difficult circumstance of life, and no matter what 'giants' we may encounter as we journey through life, we have His assurance of a victorious life with spiritual blessings - and rest for our soul.
May we take to heart this warning in both the Old and New Testament to hold fast to the faith we have in Christ and to trust in God's unchanging Word, for He has promised a rest for the people of God, and that rest is found in Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many warnings in Your Word to trust in the Lord with all my heart and not to lean on my own understanding. Help me never to allow terrors from without and fears from within to cause my faith in Your Word to fail. Thank You that Jesus is my promised rest. Keep me looking to Him and trusting in Your never-failing Word. In Jesus' name, AMEN.