AFTER their deliverance from Egypt, Israel wandered for 40 years in Sinai, much of the time far away from well-traveled trade routes. It was a “great and fear-inspiring wilderness, with poisonous serpents and scorpions and with thirsty ground that has no water.” (De 8:15) Why were they made to undergo this ordeal?
At Mount Sinai, Jehovah assembled the Israelites after their departure from Egypt, gave them his laws through Moses, and organized them into a nation. After that they could have entered the Promised Land within a short time, but they did not. Why? Despite all that Jehovah had done for them, they failed to exercise faith and they rebelled against Moses, whom God had appointed to lead them. Choosing to believe a bad report about Canaan, the Israelites longed to be taken back to Egypt! (Nu 14:1-4) This brought Jehovah’s swift judgment: Forty years would pass before the nation would enter the Promised Land. By then, the faithless members of that generation would have died off.
The wilderness experience of Israel is a powerful warning to Christians today to avoid the snare of lack of faith.—Heb 3:7-12.