Not to confuse this testing with the promise in Malachi 3:10 these are the testings that the children of Jacob did to anger God. In Numbers 14:22 God has forgiven the people again but He has had enough, yet even here we see God’s mercy. Moses’ spies have returned and pushed the people into the 10th testing of God. He sentences them to 40 years of wandering in the desert until the adults have died off. His mercy is that He credits them for the two years they have already been in the wilderness. Deuteronomy 2:14 clarifies this, they were at Kadesh when the spies were sent out and after 38 years of wandering, they have returned to Kadesh to enter into the Promised Land. (see First Two Year’s Timeline) These “10 tests” are also shadows of things we should avoid in our Christian walk.
- Exodus 14:11 – Wanted to be left in Egypt – at the Red Sea
- Exodus 15:22 – Grumbled about no water – Marah
- Exodus 16:3 – Grumbling about food
- Exodus 17:2 – Again grumbling about no water – Massah/Meribah
- Exodus 32:1 – Golden Calf – Mount Sinai
- Leviticus 10:1 – Nadab and Abihu – Mount Sinai
- Numbers 11: 1 – Complained about hardships – Taberah
- Numbers 11: 4 – Complained about the food – Kibroth Hattaavah
- Numbers 12: 1 – Miriam and Aaron talked against Moses’ marriage
- Numbers 13 + 14 – The story of the spies – Kadesh Barnea
These were the 10 tests I found. There are other rebellions after the “10”, for example, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in Numbers 16 rebel against Moses’ leadership; probably in reaction to going back into the wilderness. All of these testings took place in a two-year journey that should have taken about three weeks. I feel that part of the reason for the extended time was that the Lord had to train people who would trust in Him, establish His worship, establish a corporate identity and train an army who would/could fight. Remember they had been in Egypt for *430 years and had been reduced to slaves and indoctrinated into an Egyptian mindset.
The examples of what these “tests” represent/foreshadow will be matched to the numbers above. (I am sure there are other things that you can see in these tests. Please comment on what you see these tests represent.)
- This is “looking back” and not wanting to leave “Egypt.”
- Numbers 2 and 4 need to go together both are not trusting God for your needs but # 2 is a teaching that is a set-up for God “testing” them in #4.
- Believing and asking God for provisions
- A test to see what they learned in 2 & 3.
- Making something else God.
- Doing things your way even when you know better; probably being drunk did not help.
- Not getting things right away, remember it was 2 years and no “milk and honey.”
- They got bored with God’s provision and wanted something else and listened to wrong influences.
- Talking against God’s leaders and racism to justify your actions.
- Friends talking against God’s plan for your life.
- The number thirty-eight appears twice in connection with waiting and being put in a state of freedom. Deuteronomy 2:14 and the invalid in John 5:5
- The number forty deals with testing.
- The number 10 deals with Commands and Rulers (see Number 10)
- The Hebrew word “test” in Malachi 3:10 and 15 are the same words used in Psalms 81:7 when describing the waters of Meribah. It will depend on the translation you use.
- See Psalms 95:8, 106:32 for comments about Meribah.
- *Josephus in 2.15.2 states a different idea about the 430 years and splits it in half then there is a footnote confirming that as correct? I am looking into this idea, it is the only place I have ever seen this commented on. (see comment about Josephus)