Out of Egypt – Testing God 10 Times

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.

  1. Exodus 14:11 – Wanted to be left in Egypt – at the Red Sea
  2. Exodus 15:22 – Grumbled about no water – Marah
  3. Exodus 16:3 – Grumbling about food
  4. Exodus 17:2 – Again grumbling about no water – Massah/Meribah
  5. Exodus 32:1 – Golden Calf – Mount Sinaiworshipping the calf
  6. Leviticus 10:1 – Nadab and Abihu – Mount Sinai
  7. Numbers 11: 1 – Complained about hardships – Taberah
  8. Numbers 11: 4 – Complained about the food – Kibroth Hattaavah
  9. Numbers 12: 1 – Miriam and Aaron talked against Moses’ marriage
  10.  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.)

  1. This is “looking back” and not wanting to leave “Egypt.”
  2. 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.
  3. Believing and asking God for provisions
  4.  A test to see what they learned in 2 & 3.
  5. Making something else God.
  6. Doing things your way even when you know better; probably being drunk did not help.
  7. Not getting things right away, remember it was 2 years and no “milk and honey.”
  8. They got bored with God’s provision and wanted something else and listened to wrong influences.
  9. Talking against God’s leaders and racism to justify your actions.
  10.  Friends talking against God’s plan for your life.

Side Notes: (see Test, Attacks and Storms and Test, Test, Test)

  1. 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
  2. The number forty deals with testing.
  3. The number 10 deals with Commands and Rulers (see Number 10)
  4. 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.
  5. See Psalms 95:8, 106:32 for comments about Meribah.
  6. *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)



Since school has just finished and I end the year giving all kinds of “test” when I read Psalm 66 I had to reopen the idea of being tested. This verse follows a section that refers to when Israel was in Egypt and came out of there.

Psalm 66

10 For You, God, tested us; You refined us like silver
11 You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.

12 You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water,
but You brought us to a place of abundance.

Testing here is bahan (# 1043 Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, 2 Edition – all my definitions for this study will be taken from here), which means to try, probe or examine to learn the genuineness of an object like testing for the purity of the metal. And we think we get tested – prison, burdens, rode over (a sign of derision), fire and water. Some of you have endured these things but most of us are clueless about this level of testing. But look where it will bring you “a place of abundance.”

This passage led me to Deuteronomy and several passages where Moses is describing/reminding the children and grandchildren of the people who came out of Egypt what had happened for them.


4:34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

Testings here is nasa (# 5814) (don’t you love Hebrew into English) and refers to proving character or faithfulness; if it is done toward God it implies lack of confidence in Him (a sin).

Signs ot #253 sign, mark or symbol that communicates a supernatural. NIV translators changed it from signs to miraculous signs over the years.

Wondersmopet #4603 wonder, sign, miracle, portent, symbol

Warmilhama #4878 fighting, battle, war and many other words like soldiers, warrior, etc.

Mighty handmighty- hazaq #2617 powerful, strong, hard, physical and internal strength, (negative) hardness of heart; hand –yad #3338 hand, arm, finger, figuratively control, power, strength, direction, care. It is added to other words for many meanings. If you exchange words it takes on many great meanings. It is the same phrase for the rest of the verses.

Outstretched armoutstretched –nata #5742 to spread out, be extended; arm – zeroa #2432 arm, forearm, shoulder, power, strength, force

Great and awesome deedsawesome deeds- mora #4616 fear, terror, respect, reverence, awesome deeds; great- gadol #1524 large, much, more, this can refer to physical size, quantity, degree, and social status

I think the testings were for Israel (the first three plagues) then the others were for Egypt and showed how serious God was about letting them go. The Lord was educating His people and showing them His concern and intent toward them. 

7:17 You may say to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out? ” 18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. 

Remember this is to the children of the original group who actually saw these things. God is willing to repeat these test and signs to get them into the land. Look at the teaching – recall a lesson learned and project to a new situation.

11:1 Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws, and his commands always. Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country… It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the wilderness until you arrived at this place, and what he did to Dathan and Abiram… But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done.

The reason for the testing is verse 1 so that they can take strength in what they saw and the previous lessons learned. But now it was their turn to teach this to their children.

27:7 Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey… 11 Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.

With the test came the promise in Psalm 66 and then a new lesson in vs.11. It is also a reteach time as all of these verses have been.

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The images were found in Google Images.

The Number Thirteen in the Bible

The number thirteen in the Bible heralds that a change is coming. We like to attach all sorts of meanings to numbers, but the truth is that God created numbers for His use (See Genesis 1). Thirteen as used in the Bible is another number that God uses to show His plan for His people.

Numerology is part of studying the Bible; there are certain numbers that have been assigned certain meanings.  Three, seven, six, twelve, eight, and forty are just a few numbers that most Christians will be able to give you as having an important significance in the Bible. Three is a “God” number for the three persons of the Trinity.  Seven represents completeness from the seven days of the week. Six is the number of man this comes from the fact that we were made on the sixth day and the number 666 from the Book of Revelation.  Twelve represents the government as shown by the twelve disciples and the number of the tribes of Israel (the sons of Jacob). Forty is the number of testing or trail as shown in the years spent by Israel in the wilderness and the length of days Jesus was tested after He received the Holy Spirit. Eight is the number of new beginnings given that the eighth day of Creation started a new week.  The number fourteen is also an interesting study if you would like to see mine you may click this address https://ificouldteachthebible.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/the-number-fourteen-in-the-bible/  A study of the number fifteen is available at Cleaning Up to Celebrate.

Unfortunately, people and Christians in particular start to focus on the number instead of the God of the numbers. So we get people with triskaidekaphobia which is the fear of the number thirteen. Beliefs about this number are varied and separating fact from fiction is impossible. Some early ideas on this number and its “significance” to bring bad luck are hinged on the assumption that there were only 13 people at the Last Supper and that Jesus died on a Friday the 13th. (World Book Encyclopedia)

WHY I would like to offer a different look at the number 13 from a Biblical perspective. I already know that this does not fit into most numerological frameworks but I will ask you to follow through with my reasons and then you make up your mind.  I will show that a possible meaning for the number thirteen is the signal for the “start of or the beginning of something new.”  I am not trying to mix this with the number eight in any way.

Examples of Thirteen in the Bible These are a few of the instances that there are thirteen of something and each of these represents the “start of a new thing.”

1. In Genesis 17:25 Ishmael is circumcised at the age of thirteen which is when God made the promise to Abraham; this contrasts with Isaac being circumcised at eight days old.

2. 1 Kings 7:1 Solomon took 13 years to complete his palace.

3. Genesis 14: 4 Sodom rebelled after 13 years of servitude to Chedorlaomer king of Elam (Babylon) and Abraham rescued Lot.  This brought on Melchizedek’s blessing and Abraham’s covenant with God.

4. Esther 3: 12 Haman had orders written on the 13th day of the first month about the 13th day of last month to kill all Jews.  They have to defend themselves and so put an end to the threats of Haman the Agagite, who is an Amalekite, and a new time of freedom for the Jews.

5. Jeremiah starts his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:2).  Josiah had started purifying the land in his 12th year of being a king.  Jeremiah may have been 13 years old when his ministry started.  The term for his age shows a child up to the age of becoming a young man.

6. Joseph was 17 years old when he was taken as a slave. He was 30 when Pharaoh put him in charge of Egypt (13 years). Genesis 37:2 to 41:46.

7. The Children of Israel went around Jericho 13 times before they yelled and the walls fell down.

There are many more “13’s” in the Bible but I hope you get my point about it showing a “new start.”

My personal feeling about thirteen/Friday the 13 and other lucky things is summed up in this: It is bad luck to be superstitious!  ← (This is another post in my blog.)

So I look at it this way.

 Number 13

graphic by Ryan Johanningmeier


Fights and Wars/Battles – Psalm 144

After writing about Attacks, Test, Storms and then revisiting Test and Storms I realized that I was not finished and that the attacks and storms part seemed lop-sided.  I guess when you are in them it seems one-sided and that you are always the one getting beat-up and there is little you can do about it.

We know that is not true but we still need to be reminded of the fact that part of the Christian life is battling against the works and deeds of Satan. Three verses that help me are:

1.  1 Samuel 30:6 But David found strength in the Lord his God. (NIV)

2.  Proverbs 21:30 + 31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle but victory rests with the Lord (see Lord). (NIV)

3. Psalms 144:1 Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. (KJV)

To just read one of David’s psalms is good but I like to put them into his story; read them in the context where they may have been written. (see The Writer)  I put Psalm 144 somewhere in 1 Samuel 21 & 22.  This is a very trying time for David (he is running from Saul, did not kill Doeg the Edomite, and is worried by the King of Gath) but he reminds himself and God that he has been trained to do battle.  He sees a big picture, which is hard when you are attacked, that God is his fortress and asks for help from God in verse 5 – 7.                     (see Storms Revisited)

The King James reads differently than the New International Version in that the words are war and fight and not war and battle.  Using my Strong’s Concordance I looked up these words.  War/battle is used over “three hundred times in the Old Testament, indicating how large a part military life was to an Israelite.”  And the word fight (used 149x) comes from a primary root word that means to feed or consume and the implication is to battle or destroy. There is a separation of the idea between battle, a single encounter, and war, a series of encounters. You can draw some interesting parallels from hands being matched to war/battle and fingers with fighting.  The hand is the larger/stronger part and yet the fingers are part of the hand.

Wars/battles can include storms, trials, and attacks and go on for a long time where battles are those single attacks or pesky trials that hit quick and are over.

But I have to remind myself (the three verses), we are to be attacking, trying, and storming the enemy’s work also.  God trains us for war, gives us tools and resources to confront evil and its work, and will even fight with/for us if the battle gets too big.

Jesus as the Master Teacher

As the master teacher, Jesus used a variety of methods and presentation styles but His course content was consistent; whether by parable, teaching, or preaching His message was the Kingdom of God.

Jesus knew who He was speaking to and used examples that were at His audience’s level. With the crowds, He spoke parables using examples that they saw every day. Yeast in flour, marriage feasts, and sowing crops are examples of things He used in parables to illustrate the Kingdom of God. His parables could be taken on multiple levels of understanding but I think the meanings were always hidden because Jesus wanted people to ask questions. Isaiah had talked about this fact when he said that they would be “ever hearing but never understanding”; just because you enjoy a story does not mean that you understand the symbolism and metaphors that are written into it by the author.  With the leaders, His meanings were still veiled but they knew when he was talking about them; the example here is the Good Shepherd vs. the hired help.

He used current events as part of His teaching like when he talked about the tower that fell or when Pilate mixed pigs’ blood into the sacrifice.

Jesus used various strategies for where He was and whom He wanted to reach. He talked to massive crowds, small groups, and even one-on-one when the people or persons needed that in order for His message of the Kingdom to be gotten out and understood.  He would launch a discussion question like, “Who do the people say I am” or He would ask a question and patiently wait for an answer like when the woman was about to be stoned for adultery. (Of course, that could be Him as a Master Judge also.)

He had chosen the disciples they got special treatment. He would explain parables to them but He knew that He would have to send the Holy Spirit (re-teach) because they were not progressing fast enough. They got quantity and quality time with Jesus and I think He even gave them tests. If I may, the teaching that God can provide was the feeding of the five thousand and their test was the feeding of the four thousand. (see Test Revisited)

The picture was taken at Houston Baptist University.