It would be an understatement to say that the Bible was beautifully written. A more accurate statement is that godly men were moved by inspiration to pen the very words that God would have them to write (2 Pet. 1:20-21). Those words contain a very sober and challenging warning with relation to our time on this earth.
“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:9-11). The writer of Hebrews uses the example of the Israelite nation declining to conquer Canaan because they thought it would be too hard for them. So, the writer makes reference to their, “example of disobedience.” In 1 Corinthians chapter 10, Paul broadens the analogy to encompass the entire time of the wilderness wandering by the Israelites as an example of how not to follow God. “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11).
So, the challenge to us is to just make it through the wilderness. Don’t follow the example of those that failed because of disobedience, lack of faith in God, lack of courage and deficiency in moral character. If the people had been obedient and fully trusting in God, as Joshua and Caleb had been, the story would be quite different. They would have been in the wilderness for less than a year. They would have gone in and conquered the indigenous peoples. They would have established a kingdom with God as their king. They would have rested, and they would have been better examples to us today.
It is easy for us to assume that we would have done better. After all, they were able to hear God’s voice on the mountain. They were also able to see the power of God in the plagues. They could see the presence of God in the form of a cloud or fire. The Holy Spirit anticipates that reaction in the reader and had Paul pen these words, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). How are you doing with the challenge laid before you?
The Bible clearly teaches that we are just pilgrims passing through (Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet. 2:11). Will your path be a direct one? Straight to the gates of rest that lay beyond this life (Matt. 7:14)? Or will you be denied entrance to the place of rest because of disbelief and lack of conviction? Let us rise to the challenge that is laid before us. Let us labor together and be diligent to enter into that rest that has been prepared for us. Do not be forever lost in the wilderness of sin.