Unbelief and Disobedience – Jess Whitlock

Jess Whitlock

The Hebrews author penned: “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not [that were disobedient—ASV, 1901]? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Heb. 3:18-19). If ever a people should have had a faithful obedience to God and His will, it ought to have been the Israelites of old. They had seen the power of God in His 10-Lesson Correspondence Course to Pharaoh (Exo. 8-11).

The Israelites had to cross the Red Sea, on dry ground (Exo. 14:13-31), and in a single night! There were in excess of three million souls. If they crossed in a narrow part of the sea, double file, the line would have been 800 miles long, and it would have taken 35 days and nights to cross. Hence, they had to have an area at least three miles in width so they could walk over 5,000 abreast. Each time the Israelites made camp they needed 750 square miles (2/3 the size of the state of Rhode Island). Yet, they “could not enter because of unbelief!

For 40 years they had to have food and water while in the desert. If they had only enough water for drinking and dishes it would have required 1,000,000 gallons per day. That is the equivalent of a train of tank cars 1,800 miles long arriving each day. Do not forget the manna (Exo. 16). God supplied one omer (three quarts) per person, per day. Someone observed that in 40 years that would be 43,800,000,000 gallons, or 1,500 tons of food per day. That would have required 5,152,000 railroad cars to carry. A train of that size would stretch back and forth across the continental USA 14 times! And they still murmured and complained (Exo. 15:22ff).

What a sad commentary on the people of God. They had seen the salvation of the Lord (Exo. 14:13); yet, in Numbers 14:4 they said, “Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.” It is not the hearing of the Good News only that brings salvation; but its appropriation through faith. “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed [united—ASV, 1901] with faith in them that heard it” (Heb. 4:1-2).

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