The apostle Peter, the first to preach to the Gentiles penned his second letter to them, “to them that have obtained like precious faith [faithfulness] with us” (2Pe 1:1). And Jude, whose letter was patterned after Peter’s reminded them, “earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated] … I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed [trusted] not” (Jde 1:3, 5). God separated His people from all others—saving them from Egypt and giving precious faithfulness to them to inherit the land. However, most of them died on the wrong side of the Jordan River.
Paul revealed that Abraham’s two sons were prophetic allegorically of the Old and New Covenants, “Abraham had two sons … Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants … For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth [corresponds] to Jerusalem which now is” (Gal 4:22, 24-25). The events with God’s people from Egypt to Jerusalem correspond as examples of our salvation in Christ, “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted … Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition” (1Co 10:6, 11), “lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief [distrust]” (Heb 4:11).
The Lord saved His people out of Egypt to receive their land inheritance and inhabit Jerusalem on the other side of the River. However, most of them died on the wrong side, “But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness” (Num 14:32). The warning is to us, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1Co 10:12), “whose carcases fell in the wilderness” (Heb 3:17), “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief [distrust]” (Heb 4:11). He intended for them to settle in the land, not come short of it, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Heb 4:1).
They came short because their hearts were hardened through continual sinning, “Harden not your hearts” (Heb 3:8, 15), “lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (v. 13), “was it not with them that had sinned” (v. 17). And Paul listed several of their sins: “not lust after evil things” (1Co 10:6), “Neither be ye idolaters” (v. 7), “Neither let us commit fornication” (v. 8), “Neither let us tempt Christ” (v. 9), “Neither murmur ye” (v. 10).
Murmuring and complaining was the most frequent sin: “And the people murmured against Moses” (Exo 15:24); “the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him” (Exo 16:8); “I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel” (Exo 16:12); “the people murmured against Moses” (Exo 17:3); “And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron” (Num 14:2); “I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me” (Num 14:27); “all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron” (Num 16:41); “take away their murmurings from me” (Num 17:10); “ye murmured in your tents” (Deu 1:27); “But murmured in their tents” (Psa 106:25); “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured” (1Co 10:10).
They tempted God several times as they traveled across the desert toward the land, “they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?” (Exo 17:7), and God forgave them. However, their hearts continued to be hardened until they had tempted Him too many times, “have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice” (Num 14:22). It came to the point where God swore in His anger that they would not enter the land but die, “I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die” (Num 14:35); “And the LORD’S anger was kindled the same time, and he sware” (Num 32:10); “And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware” (Deu 1:34); “Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest” (Psa 95:11); “So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest” (Heb 3:11), “As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest” (Heb 4:3).
They are examples to us, “Now these things were our examples … Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples” (1Co 10:6, 11), “lest any man fall after the same example” (Heb 4:11). We must fear the same fate of not entering but dying on this side of the Jordan, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Heb 4:1). God is merciful and forgiving. But if we keep sinning and hardening our hearts, there will come a point when He swears we won’t enter and there will never be hope for us again—we will not enter our inheritance but die on this side of the Jordan.