Jul 18, 2011

from old to new

Why did Israel have to wander through the desert for forty years?
The people complain and ask to return to Egypt, to which God responds with a word of judgment: a forty-year stay in the wilderness, time for the present generation to die out completely. Among the spies, only Caleb was faithful and will be spared the punishment. This forty-year period marks not only a chronological interlude in the wilderness journey, but a theological one as well. The old generation will die, and God will begin anew with a new people (even a new census, chapter 26). Here we see an instance of what will become the essential biblical theme of death and renewal or death and resurrection. Sin and rebellion produces death; but out of death, God makes a new thing.
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