20 of 35 Forty Years in the Desert – Story of Adam to Jesus

After giving us the gift of the Law, God came to dwell among His people, above His throne of mercy, the Ark of the Covenant Exo 25:10-22; 37:1-9

God led the Israelites to Canaan, the Promised Land.

… the people … encamped in the desert of Paran. Numbers 12:16

The LORD said to Moses, “Send men to reconnoiter the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.” .. So Moses dispatched them … Numbers 13:1-3

After reconnoitering the land for forty days … They told Moses: ” … , … the people who are living in the land are fierce, and the towns are fortified and very strong. … We cannot attack these people; they are too strong for us.” Numbers 13:25-31

All the Israelites grumbled against Moses … Numbers 14:2

… they could not enter for lack of faith. Hebrews 2:9

And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn me? How long will they refuse to believe in me, despite all the signs I have performed among them? Numbers 14:11

… turn away tomorrow and set out in the desert Numbers 14:25

… the LORD made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD had died out. Num 32:13 see also Num 14:21-23 Num 32:13 see also Joshua 5:6

The new generation of Israelites developed faith by experience.

The Israelites experienced God feeding them.

Exo 16:13-15; 31; 35-36 # 1334

[The Lord] … let [the Israelites] be afflicted with hunger, and then fed [the Israelites] with manna, … in order to show [the Israelites] that not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the LORD. Deut 8:3

Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. …” Exo 16:4-5

The Israelites called this food manna. … it tasted like wafers made with honey. Exo 16:29-31

The Israelites experienced God providing them water.

… the community had no water, … Then, … Moses struck the rock twice with his staff, and water gushed out in abundance for the community and their livestock to drink. Numbers 20:2-11

The Israelites experienced God healing them.

… serpents, … bit the people so that many of them died. … So … the LORD said to Moses, “Make a [serpent] and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover.” Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered. Num 21:5-9

Understand that none of this was magic. The Israelites were learning that you act on faith, then God responds. We humans were developing the understanding we need in order to celebrate sacraments.

The Israelites had lots of adventures during their 40 years in the desert. You can read all about them in Exodus, Deuteronomy, Numbers, and Leviticus.

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