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In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16:2-3 Ah, remember the "good old days"! When Jacob (Israel) and his extended family first moved to Egypt at the invitation of his son Joseph, they were welcomed by the Pharaoh of the time and lived in the very desirable Land of Goshen (Gen 47:5) and they prospered there (Gen 47:27). Life was easy, while Egypt and the surrounding countries ciontinued to suffer under the seven year drought that Joseph had predicted to Pharaoh (Gen 41:25-32). Then, under a new Pharaoh, the greatly expanded People of Israel were enslaved (Ex 1:6-14). They were told what to do, what to think, were given slaves rations to eat, and learned to be obedient to the Egyptians. They became dependent, and even when liberated by God they simply switched their dependance onto Moses. However, every time things looked bad, they did nothing but complain (Ex 14:10-12; Ex 15:22-24; etc.), even becoming tired of the miracle of daily manna (Num 11:1-4)! When the time came to enter the Land promised by the Lord, despite all the miracles they had witnessed both in Egypt and during the exodus, they still reacted like those used to the easy life or lowly slaves. They were too fearful to fight, even with God to go before them (Num 13:26-14:4) and so God decreed that none from that entire generation (except Joshua and Caleb) would enter the Promised Land (Num 14:26-35). When they tried to force the issue, they failed miserably because they STILL would not accept or obey the clear and unambiguous decree of the Lord (Num 14:41-45). During the forty years in the desert, the next generation grew up tough, resilient fighters and learnt to depend on God for food, drink, clothes and footware (Deut 29:5), and go where He led them day by day (Num 9:15-23). When their time came, this new generation who had grown up moulded by their reliance on God, their training and their harsh environment did march into the Land under the leadership of Joshua (Joshua 1:1-3). But their grandparents and parents who had grown used to living with abundance and then cowering before Egyptian masters and who grumbled about every hardship and refused to trust their Lord God all died in the desert (Num 26:63-65), even Aaron, Miriam and finally Moses himself (Deut 32:48-52).
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