“But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wildernes”
The word “but” is a right-about-face word. Up to this point, Paul’s discussion is about the privileges of Israel; now, he talks about their failure to live up to those privileges. It is possible to be a Christian and not have God pleased with us.
with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Note the phrase “most of them.” Up to this point in this chapter, the emphasis has been on “all.” Most Israelites abused their privileges. Two didn’t – Joshua and Caleb. Most did not see the wall of Jericho fall flat. They did not possess their possessions in the land because they hardened their hearts to the Lord. They were a 40-year heartache to God. They died before they should have.
Hebrews 3:15, while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
God was not pleased with Israel. He fed them and gave them water for 40 years. Yet God gave them grace despite their discontent. That is unadulterated grace. God is pleased with those who believe Him. He is pleased with our faith. He delights in those who believe that God must do the doing. He relishes in our resignation to man’s helplessness and hopelessness. Believers who do not fall apart and go into spiritual tantrums take the strain off themselves.
Although the Israelites had great privileges, they abused those privileges, so God “scattered” their bodies in the wilderness. God scattered 600,000 corpses of men alone (not counting women and children) over the desert. Only two men who came out of Egypt entered the promised land (Caleb and Joshua). The Egyptian generation of Israelites had wonderful privileges, but God “disqualified” them from His purposes (9:24). Israel had faith enough to believe that God would deliver them through the Red Sea, and they had faith enough to believe that God would spare their firstborn, yet they failed in the end. Canaan is not a type of heaven but of a type of victorious Christian living. Those who enter into victorious living are always those who believe God to the end.
Privilege is no guarantee against spiritual failure.
Privilege is no guarantee against ultimate spiritual failure. Many Christians today die before they should. The problem is not in privilege but the appropriation of privilege. God has freely given us all things in Christ, but we need to apply those promises. We are wealthy in privilege, but it is just a matter of spending our privileges. If we please the Lord Jesus, we please everyone who counts!