WRITTEN FOR OUR LEARNING

IT SAYS IN ROMANS 15v4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” It also says in 1Corinthians 10v11 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

These passages refer to the Old Testament Scriptures. The meaning being, that we should read the OT and study how God deals with mankind, and gain knowledge of how God applies His laws.

One particular story of interest is found in Numbers chapters 13-14. It’s here we find the Israelites are approaching the promised land after just escaping Egyptian slavery. They were given permission to send in 12 men to spy out the land, each man a “ruler among them.” [Numbers 13:2]

Upon their return from spying out the land, all of them report that the land truly is a land as God had described, “a land flowing with milk and honey.” [Numbers 13:27; Ex 3:8]

However, 10 of the spies also reported that the inhabitants of the land were, “strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great:”, thus giving a bad report. Caleb, one of the 12 spies, said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it;” but the 10 went against him and against Joshua.

The children of Israel were persuaded by the bad report and refused to take possession of the land as the Lord had commanded, complaining about how it would have been better to remain in Egyptian slavery. [Num 14:1-4] They even said, “If only we had come to our death in the land of Egypt, or even in this waste land!” To this God said, OK. He gave them what they requested. “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness;” [Num 14:29a]

So…What are we to learn?

There are some similarities between them and Christians today.

First, they had been freed from bondage. We Christians have also been freed from bondage, we were enslaved to sin. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” [Romans 6:18] We have been freed from a hopeless situation, enslaved to sin.

Second, they were between two places. Their previous condition and their future home. They were pilgrims heading to a wonderful place “flowing with milk and honey.” Christians are also between two places.  We are not in heaven, but want to go there, and we’re no longer in a lost condition. We are warned, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” [1Peter 2:11]

Lastly, some of them rejected the promises of God for this new home and refused to follow His commandments to attain it. God refused to allow these disobedient unbelievers to enter the land and obtain a rest. Christians can also reject the commands of the Lord and miss out on entering our rest, heaven. We do this be following their example of turning away from God’s commands. This comparison is drawn by the Hebrews writer in chapter 3, 7-19. This letter is addressed to Christians and has this warning, “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)”

So you see, their example should teach us to remain faithful to God. To never neglect our salvation [Hebrews 2:3], and to obey Him by “continuing in the apostles’ doctrine” [Acts 2:42; Matthew 28:20]

Can a Christian so sin as to lose their salvation?

If we do as they did, disobedience and unbelief [Heb 3:17-19], then we will have what they had, no other options. There remains no more sacrifice for sins. 

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” (KJV) [Hebrews 10:26]

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