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The Everlasting Covenant

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    Chapter 32 - Entering the Promised Land

    And about the time of forty years suffered He their manners in the wilderness.” 1Acts 13:18.EVCO 369.1

    In these few words the Apostle Paul in his discourse in the synagogue at Antioch disposed of the forty years’ wandering of the Israelites in the wilderness; and for the purpose of our present study we may pass it by nearly as hastily.EVCO 369.2

    Their manners were such that God literally “suffered” them. The record is one of murmurings and rebellion. “They believed not in God, and trusted not in His salvation.” 2Psalm 78:22. “How oft did they provoke Him in the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They remembered not His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy; how He had wrought His signs in Egypt, and His wonders in the field of Zoan.” 1Psalm 78:40-43. And God really suffered, for He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” and “in all their affliction He was afflicted,” “and He bare them, and carried them, all the days of old,” “as a man doth bear his son.” 2Isaiah 63:9; Deuteronomy 1:31. Their sins were upon the Lord, so that He was wearied with them. 3Isaiah 43:24.EVCO 369.3

    Although for forty years they daily saw the works of God, they did not learn His ways; wherefore, says the Lord, “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.” 4Hebrews 3:10, 11.EVCO 370.1

    “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” What does that teach us as to the nature of the inheritance to which God was leading His people? Simply this, that it was an inheritance that could be possessed only by those who had faith—that faith alone could win it. Worldly, temporal possessions may be, and are, gained and held by men who disbelieve, and who even despise and blaspheme God. Indeed, unbelieving men have the most of this world’s goods. Many besides the writer of the seventy-third Psalm have been envious at the prosperity of the wicked; but such feeling of envy arises only when one looks at the things that are temporal, instead of at the things that are eternal. “The prosperity of fools shall destroy them.”EVCO 370.2

    God has chosen the poor of this world, “rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him.” 5James 2:5. That kingdom is “not of this world,” 6John 18:36. but is “a better country, that is, an heavenly,” 7Hebrews 11:16. for which the patriarchs looked. It was to this country that God promised to lead His people when He delivered them from Egypt. But it can be possessed only by those who are “rich in faith.”EVCO 370.3

    The time had come when God could carry out His purpose with His people. The faithless ones who had said that their little ones would die in the desert had perished, and now those same children, grown to manhood, and trusting the Lord, were about to enter the promised land. After the death of Moses, God said to Joshua: “Arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.” 1Joshua 1:2, 3.EVCO 371.1

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