Moses and the Lost Generation
For years the Israelites cried out to be released from their captivity and to take possession of the Promised Land. Under the leadership of Moses and the deliverance of God, they escaped to the wilderness. Commentators have suggested that at the time of departure the population of the Israelites was between 2 and 3 million.¹
When it came time to take possession of the Promised Land, however, they sent spies to view the land. Unfortunately, ten of the spies brought back a frightening report: the task was too big and too hard. They didn’t have the faith to act. As a result of a series of rebellions and their lack of faith, God refused to allow the unbelieving ones to enter the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones with the faith to act.
Adam Clarke, a Methodist commentator, estimates that “over 1,078,000 Israelites (600,000 men, 400,000 women, 45,000 Levite men, 33,000 Levite women, plus adults among the mixed multitude) died during the wilderness wandering over those 40 years.”²
They are the lost generation—the lost generation of unbelief.
The writer to the book of Hebrews reminds us to “remember those whose bodies fell in the wilderness” and to “exhort one another every day” to cultivate an obedient heart of faith.³
³See Hebrews 3.12-18.