Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: Return to Kadesh. Num 20:1-13; 1Co 10:1-13.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: Return to Kadesh. NUM 20:1-13; 1CO 10:1-13.


We enter the beginning of our study of Joshua some months before he is appointed leader in the stead of Moses. We begin with the return to Kadesh and the beginning of the push to the Promised Land with the second generation.




It was indeed most fitting that, at the end of the thirty-seven and a half years of wanderings after their first arrival here, Israel should once more gather at Kadesh.


It took them a year or so to get here the first time from which place they sent the twelve spies into the land. And from there they had been scattered, when the evil report which the spies had brought led to their unbelief and re­bellion; and from then and there had the old generation carried, as it were, its sentence of death back into the wilderness, till during these long and weary years its full terms had been exhausted and only few of that generation were left.


The wandered in the wilderness for about thirty eight years and now returned to Kadesh, a little over thirty nine years after their departure from Egypt. A new generation was once more at Kadesh. From the very spot where the old was broken off was the fresh start to be made.


God is faithful to His purpose; He never breaks His promise. Unbelief interrupted Him, but He resumed His work from where it was broken off.


If the old was interrupted, it had been by man’s unbelief and rebellion, not by failure on the part of God; and when He resumed His work, it was exactly where it had been so broken off.


The question should be asked that if God interrupted His purpose because of the unbelief of the people is the covenant of land conditional? The covenant is unconditional - Israel will receive the land, but enjoying the blessings of the covenant depends on the individual's faith. The unconditional aspect is that the blessings are there. The land is there for all who will enter upon God's promises.


But God's people can in unbelief miss out on the enjoyment of those blessings that are unconditional, which are there but missed.


Alert: this point has come up a lot lately …


Even those who went in but reverted back to worshipping false gods missed out on the blessings of the land covenant even though they lived on it. The land is there and it will be theirs, that's the promise, but through unbelief there are many who don't enjoy the land at all. Do we enjoy eternal life, position in Christ, brideship with Christ, being adult children in the royal family of God, our inheritance in Christ? They are all unconditional for all believers but do all believers enjoy them?  


Man must return to where he has departed from God in order to deal with what it was that caused the departure.


And man also must return to where he has departed from God, and to where sentence has been pronounced against him, before he enters on his new journey to the Land of Promise. This is metaphorical for us but it is a picture of a reality in the soul.


Our study of the Lord's conversation with Peter is a perfect example of this. Peter had tried to forget his denial but had not dealt with it. The Lord took him back to the denial so that he could deal with it by means of the grace of God, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" Israel must finally deal with their unbelief in God's providence. All believers who have fallen away from their walk with God and God's word must return to the reason and in enforced humility, since it is often mentally painful, deal with that reason in the light of God's grace and truth.


What solemn thoughts must enter upon the minds of the new generation, standing where their fathers had been so disciplined by God and only found death in the desert. Yet here they are poised to push into the Promised Land.


God had sanctified His name in Kadesh by judgment. Would they now sanctify His name by faith and willing obedience?


We surmise that only five of the old generation remained: Joshua, Caleb, Miriam, Moses, and Aaron. Miriam. It was Miriam who led the hymn of thanksgiving and triumph on their first entering the desert, was taken away.


Miriam dies here and Moses and Aaron would not gain entry into the land.


Moses and Aaron are weary men, wayward pilgrims of almost forty years and now they had to learn afresh the dealings of Jehovah.


We are never too old to learn afresh the dealings of God.


Kadesh is an area in the desert of Zin and with so large a number of people, water would soon become scarce.


It must be remembered that this generation know of the wonders of the Lord chiefly by hearing and not by seeing.


In the hardness of their hearts and unbelieving despair it now seemed to them as if the prospect before them were hopeless, and they destined to suffer the same fate as their fathers.


Seeing the current prospect they despair and only see hopelessness. Do similar circumstances always conclude in the same way?


Do similar circumstances always conclude in the same way? Is God forced to do the same thing in each situation that has similar tendencies? If something you attempted failed, should you never attempt it again? If someone else attempted and failed, should you never attempt it? Will you never succeed? (I think of President Lincoln and Thomas Edison.) One thing is for sure, we will never know anything without attempting to apply God's faithfulness, power, and work to the circumstances and opportunities that confront us.


We have here a wilderness, a lot of people, water stores dwindling, and a promise from God. Much is the same as it was but it doesn't have to turn out the same. Even the name of the wilderness is similar. They last lacked water in the wilderness of Sin and now they're in the wilderness of Zin.


NUM 20:1 Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh. Now Miriam died there and was buried there.


NUM 20:2 And there was no water for the congregation; and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron.


NUM 20:3 The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, "If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord!


NUM 20:4 "Why then have you brought the Lord's assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here?


NUM 20:5 "And why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink."


Almost thirty nine years of this would have put any leader at the end of his rope and desire to use said rope to either hang himself or to scourge the people.


The remembrance of the past with its disappointments seems to find expression in their complaints.


Feelings similar to theirs will also take hold of Moses and Aaron but in a different direction.


No matter what each day holds there is enough rest for the work of that day to be concluded. We get weary mentally and not physically. We must look at each day as a lifetime.


Don't become weary. Forty years of leading and interceding for these people would become wearying, but one has to remember to live one day at a time, as if the Rapture will happen each evening. In between each day there is rest.


2PE 3:8

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.


Moses wrote this during this entire fiasco:


PSA 90:4

For a thousand years in Thy sight

Are like yesterday when it passes by,

Or as a watch in the night.


PSA 90:12

So teach us to number our days,

That we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.


PSA 90:14

O satisfy us in the morning with Thy lovingkindness,

That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.


The people despaired of success, and rebelled against Moses and Aaron. With them as leaders they would never get possession of the Land of Promise.


On the other hand, Moses and Aaron also despaired of success, and rebelled, as it were, against the people.


People: Moses and Aaron have us a wilderness - no PL.

Moses and Aaron: The people are stubborn - no PL.


To Moses and Aaron, such an unbelieving people, rebelling at the very outset, would never be allowed to enter the land.


Does God's success in your life depend on others? Does God's promises to you depend on others?


No matter how many others may be against you, when God says it's time for promotion, nothing can stop it.


Is God limited by the actions of man? The promises of God are yes, period. Is God unfaithful or are we impatient? The people said:


NUM 20:5 "And why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink."


Kadesh is not in the Promised Land and they know that. They have thrown in the towel and have tossed away their God given inheritance for a presumed and imagined life in the wilderness of Zin. They will be in the Promised Land in under a year's time and yet now they despair of it.


God's deliverance could be here tomorrow or it could be right around the corner. Can you not live in His love, joy, and peace today because of what you anticipate to change or not change tomorrow?


The Lord said that you are more important than sparrows and lilies and if God takes care of them, He will certainly take care of you. He also said that if we lose our life/soul for His sake then we will find life indeed, His life that was given to us at salvation. Our thinking must find that life.


When examined, the foundation of despair and rebellion, both on the part of the people and of Moses and Aaron, were precisely the same. In both cases it was unbelief of God.


The people had looked upon Moses and not upon God as their leader into the land, and they had despaired. And ironically enough, Moses is assuredly one of the greatest leaders who ever lived, if not the greatest, yet they were still not to put their eyes upon him but upon God who promised.


Moses looked at the people as they were in themselves, instead of thinking of God Who now sent them forward, secure in His promise, which He would assuredly fulfill.


The people thought Moses alone could deliver and Moses thought God would not deliver because of the unfaithfulness of the people. The common and unchanging factor for each party is the promise of God.


This soon appeared in the conduct and language of Moses. By Divine direction he was to stand in sight of the people at “the rock before their eyes” with “the rod from before Jehovah “—no doubt the same rod with which the miracles had been wrought in Egypt, and under whose stroke water had once before sprung from the rock at Rephidim in Exo 17. [this is a different place and a different rock]


NUM 20:6 Then Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting, and fell on their faces. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to them;


NUM 20:7 and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,


NUM 20:8 "Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink."


NUM 20:9 So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him;


NUM 20:10 and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, "Listen now, you rebels [rebellious ones]; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?"


NUM 20:11 Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank.


NUM 20:12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."


It is not as though Moses didn't believe that water would come from the rock, but that God would actually deliver this people, so he doesn't speak to them in comforting words that might encourage their faith, but in harsh, condemning words.