Forty-One Funerals A Day

According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. (Numbers 14:34-35)

Forty-One Funerals A Day

No single group of people in the history of mankind witnessed the power of God, as did the nation of Israel. By a mighty hand, the Lord brought the Hebrews out of Egypt. Through the plagues upon the Egyptian nation, God turned the water into blood and infested the land with frogs, lice, and flies. The hand of the Lord was against the cattle in the field, on the horses, donkeys, camel, oxen, and sheep (a severe pestilence). Boils spread throughout the Egyptian community with a great plague. Hail rained down, destroying crops, followed by the scourge of locusts. The ninth plague of darkness was the prelude to man’s greatest night of terror. On the night of the Passover, the Lord God killed every firstborn of every household in Egypt, including killing the firstborn of the animals. The Hebrews were spared the plagues, but they saw the destruction. When the Hebrews left Egypt, they saw the power of God divide the Red Sea and then destroy the greatest army on earth.

Miracles continued to impress themselves upon the people as bitter water was turned sweet, bread from heaven called manna fed the people, followed by quail. Water came from a rock. The Amalekites were soundly defeated. Standing at the foot of Sinai, the Hebrews witnessed the awesome presence of God as the Lord descended upon it with fire, blackness, darkness, and tempests, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of God. So great was the power of God, Moses was exceedingly afraid and trembled. When the people turned to the golden calf in unrestrained worship, more than three thousand Hebrews died. Two sons of Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, were destroyed by fire for offering profane fire before the Lord.

After leaving Sinai, the people came to Kadesh-Barnea. God instructed Moses to send men into the land to spy the land which He was giving them. Leaders for every tribe were assembled, and the twelve leaders went up and spied out the land. After forty days, the spies returned to tell the people what they had found. The land flowed with milk and honey, but powerful enemies with fortified and well-secured cities also possessed it. Ten of the spies did not believe the Israelites could win the war. Joshua and Caleb believed in the power of God to do the impossible. Hearing the discouraging news of the ten spies, the people refused to enter the land. The decision by the people dishonored the promise of God. He had told them the land was theirs. He would give them the land, but they did not believe it.

For the past few months, the Hebrews had seen the greatest miracles of God work in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, against the Amalekites, and the continual provisions given by God. Refusing to trust in God was an affront to the name of God. As punishment for their rebellion, the Lord declared the nation would wander through the wilderness for forty years. Everyone twenty years and above would die and never see the promised land. The nation numbered 603,550 fighting men when they were at Sinai. When the forty years were completed, the number was 601,730. Everyone twenty years and above died. Using a common denominator factoring on the average per day that would die shows that there were at least forty-one burials daily. In reality, there were probably not that many every day, but the illustration shows the immense number of burials that took place constantly for forty years.

Four decades passed as the people were reminded of their rebellion. When families buried their loved ones, who could they blame? The constant funerals became a reminder of the righteousness of a holy God whose name must be revered and the consequence of sin. Joshua and Caleb were spared because they were faithful. The ten spies died immediately, and then a forty-year funeral dirge occurred as no nation on earth experienced. Israel had seen the power of God with their eyes, and it did not move them to obey Him. They would spend forty years wishing they had believed in the power of God.

God is a wrathful God against all unrighteousness. The power of God is found in the word of God. All the evidence a person needs to obey is found within the pages of holy writ. Rejecting the Bible as the word of God will not bring a forty-year sentence – it will be an eternal day. Forty funerals a day for forty years would be an incredible experience. Israel stands as a monument to the folly of men who fail to learn lessons from the power of God. Do you believe in the power of God? Are you willing to trust in the Lord and obey Him? If not, get your shovel out. There will be a lot of holes to dig.

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