Failure of The Wilderness Wanders

D.L. Moody, the great evangelist, was preaching in Chicago on October 8, 1871. Before him was the largest congregation he had ever addressed in the city. He concluded his sermon with a blunder that he called the biggest mistake in his life, one he vowed he would give his right ha … More

Unbelief

The Israelites failed to enter the Promised Land because they did not believe in God’s protection, and they did not believe that God would help them conquer the giants in the land. The writer in this passage is warning the people of the danger of unbelief:

  1. This danger demands immediate action (vv. 14-15). This verse mentions for the third time in this chapter the word “today.” “Today” is a word of urgency. In II Corinthians 6:2 the apostle Paul echoes the need for urgency when he states, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
  2. This danger destroys even those who have known God’s truth (v. 16). Truth known never  does anything; it is truth done which sets us free. The terrible danger which the writer is pointing out is that truth that is known, but not acted on, has an awful effect of hardening the heart so that it is no longer able to act. We can even lose the ability to believe.
  3. This danger produces God’s anger (v. 17). We are exhorted to not be like the unbelieving Israelite generation that fell in the wilderness. We need to fully commit ourselves to Jesus Christ today, as there is a day of judgment coming.
  4. This danger may disqualify a person from entering into God’s rest (vv. 18-19). The disobedience of unbelief forfeits blessing and brings judgment. This illustration, instruction and invitation, is worthless apart from belief in God. The one thing required is faith. They were not able to enter because of unbelief (Prov. 29:1). In order to enter complete rest we must put our complete faith in the God of the universe.

Application

The Israelites did not enter the promised land because they did not believe that God would help them conquer the giants in the land. Lord, help me to not wander in the wilderness of disbelief.

Hebrews 3:14-19 (English Standard Version)

For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »