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"But as truly as I live . . . . . surely they shall not see the land . . . . . neither shall
any of them that provoked Me see it" (Num. 14: 21-23; see also Psa. 99: 8,
II Sam. 12: 10-12).
In Numb. 14: 22 the Lord declares that already this people had tempted Him ten
times. THE COMPANION BIBLE gives the "ten times" as follows:--
At Read Sea. (Exod. 14: 11, 12).
At Marah. (Exod. 15: 23, 24).
Wilderness of Sin. (Exod. 16: 2).
Twice about Manna. (Exod. 16: 20, 27).
At Rephidim. (Exod. 17: 1-3).
At Horeb (golden calf). (Exod. 32:).
At Taberah. (Num. 11: 1).
At Kibroth Hataavah. (Num. 11: 4).
At Kadesh. (Num. 14: 2).
Each occurrence should be carefully studied, as each brings to light some ground of
provocation and forfeiture. One of the most frequent expressions in this series is that the
children of Israel murmured. It will be remembered that in Philippians, the Epistle of the
PRIZE, the exhortation is:--
"Do all things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may be . . . . the sons of
God, without rebuke" (2: 14).
In I Cor. 10: also, this feature is brought forward:--
"Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the
destroyer" (verse 10).
Murmuring may seem a small thing, but it is the seed of unbelief that departs from the
living God. On one of the occasions, that of Num. 11: 4, it was the mixed multitude that
led Israel astray--the type of those "whose God is their belly, who glory in their shame,
who mind earthly things" (Phil. 3: 19). Israel murmured at the heavenly provision of
Manna, saying, "Our soul loatheth this light bread" (Num. 21: 5). Psa. 78: reveals
that unbelief was at the bottom of this rejection of heavenly food--"Because they
believed not in God"; "Their heart was not right with Him" (verses 17, 18, 22, 25, 37).
In the dealings of God with His people after salvation, the principle remains true that
"Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap . . . . . flesh . . . . . spirit"; for in
Num. 14: 28, 29 we read:--
"AS ye have spoken in Mine ears, SO will I do to you. Your carcasses shall fall in
this wilderness . . . . . which have murmured against Me."
The very sending of the spies into the land of promise was an act of provocation to the
Lord. "We will send men before us" (Deut. 1: 22). He allowed them their own way in the
matter, but the result was that "they brought up an evil report". Exek. 20: 6 definitely
tells us that the Lord Himself had espied the land for them, but they believed not His