The Fortieth Year
The 40 year wandering of Israel in the wilderness is a well-known narrative. Following Israel’s miraculous deliverance from Egypt, Israel experienced nearly every kind of drama and emotion. They hoped to travel to and inherit the Promised Land spoken of to Abraham. Yet, for most, that was not to be.
Scripture says much about the first two years of that wandering, but is silent on the intervening years until we come to the 40th year. This issue of the Herald covers experiences of Israel in that 40th year. These tumultuous twelve months prepared for their push into Canaan.
Thirty‑Nine Years reviews the experiences of Israel up to year 40. The early experiences showed the patience of God, knowing Israel’s need of preparation and training. They also reflected deep-seated unbelief in many, which excluded them from the land for 40 years.
The Life and Death of Miriam describes the first recorded event of year 40, the death of Miriam, giving a biography of this remarkable woman, complete with strengths and weaknesses. This older sister of Moses significantly influenced Israel in the wilderness.
Judgment at Meribah shares the one blot on the exceptional faithfulness of Moses. That regrettable event was connected to providing water from a rock for the second time.
Passing Through Edom and the Death of Aaron examines Israel’s experience as they moved through inhabited areas approaching the land of promise. It recounts Moses’ efforts to make peaceful passage through Edom.
In The Fiery Serpents, Israel’s arrival was only months away, yet unbelief, and questioning God’s servants, still cost many Israelites their lives. However, there are wonderful prophetic glints of future redemption.
Battles with the Amorites and the Moabites describes Israel’s conflict with and victory over Amorites, in Israel’s march north. It also looks at the greedy prophet, Balaam.
Settling Transjordan explains the inheritance of 2½ tribes east of the Jordan, representing the Church, Great Company, and Ancient Worthies, who receive their inheritance before the remainder of mankind. (Please find this article on the Herald website.)
The Death of Moses shares the final exhortations their esteemed leader made to the nation. Moses would not enter with them. His farewell exhortations are deeply moving.
The End of the Fortieth Year provides a satisfying conclusion as Israel, under the new leadership of Joshua, prepares for their historic invasion of Canaan.
As the Apostle Paul said, “These things happened unto them for ensamples … for our admonition” (1 Corinthians 10:11). In these experiences we have engaging history, deep prophetic lessons, and examples both warning, and encouraging, the New Creation.