Places of Interest
1. Kadesh Barnea is located on the southern border area between Israel and Egypt.
2. It’s about 31 miles (51 km.) from the Mediterranean Ocean and about 33 miles (53 km.) southwest of Beer Sheba.
3. Kadesh Barnea was the original place where God intended the Israelites to enter the Promised Land.
4. Today, there is a community which lives at Kadesh Barnea, and the town retains its same name.
1. At Kadesh Barnea, one of the most tragic events in Israel’s history happened.
2. It’s here they rebelled against God’s plan for them to enter the Promised Land. As a result, they were severely judged for their lack of faith and condemned to wander in the wilderness 40 years until those 20 years, and older, died.
3. The Israelites had seen many spectacular miracles.
They saw the 10 supernatural plaques God sent upon the Egyptians.
They witnessed the first Passover wherein God spared the Israelites as they put blood from a lamb around the doors of their dwellings.
They saw God open the hearts of the Egyptians so that they gave them many possessions.
They experienced supernatural help to cross the Sinai Peninsula on eagle’s wings to reach the Aqaba finger of the Red Sea.
They beheld a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide and protect them.
They experienced the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea (10.5 miles wide, 17 km.) in which they were approximately 2,500 ft. (762 m.) under sea level in the midst of the depths and mighty waters of the sea (Isa. 51:10).
They saw God supernaturally provide water out of a rock at Rephidim.
God helped the Israelites supernaturally defeat the Amalekites as Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses.
They stood in fear and trembling as God sent fire and smoke upon Mt. Sinai as he gave them the Ten Commandments written on stone by His own finger.
They received supernatural provisions of Manna and quail in the desert.
4. The Israelites had been bathed in miracles for well over a year from the time they left Egypt until the time they reached Kadesh Barnea.
5. They had seen enough miracles to be able to trust God for anything.
6. However, despite all the miracles they had witnessed, they viewed God as too weak to help them enter the Promised Land and rebelled against Him.
Places of Interest
1. Kadesh Barnea
3. Sinai Peninsula
4. Aqaba Finger of the Red Sea crossing
6. Mt. Sinai
Kadesh Barnea in the Bible
1. Twelve spies were sent into the Promised Land from Kadesh Barnea to give a report.
Numbers 13:1–3: Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, 2 “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers’ tribes, every one a leader among them.” 3 So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel.
2. Ten Spies gave a report of the difficulty in possessing the land.
Numbers 13:25–29: When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, 26 they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Thus, they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”
3. Two spies (Joshua and Caleb) give a report of faith. Caleb is the spokesman.
Numbers 13:30: Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”
4. The 10 spies convince the people that they are unable to possess the land.
Numbers 13:31–33: But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” 32 So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. 33 There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
5. The Israelites rebel against God and decide to return to Egypt as slaves again.
Numbers 14:1–4: Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”
6. Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb plead with the people not to rebel against God’s will for them.
Numbers 14:5–10: Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel. 6 Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” 10 But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of the Lord appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel.
7. God threatens to destroy the Israelites and make a great nation out of Moses’ offspring.
Numbers 14:11–12: The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? 12 I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.”
8. Moses prays on behalf of the people (Num. 14:13–19).
9. God forgives the Israelites but judges them anyway.
Numbers 14:20–38: So the Lord said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; 21 but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. 22 Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, 23 shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. 24 But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it. 25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys; turn tomorrow and set out to the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.”
26 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; 29 your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. 30 Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey—I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. 34 According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition. 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die.’”
36 As for the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land and who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing out a bad report concerning the land, 37 even those men who brought out the very bad report of the land died by a plague before the Lord. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive out of those men who went to spy out the land.
Faith Lesson from Kadesh Barnea
1. The reality of the judgment of God is sobering. God forgave the Israelites, but He did not remove the consequences of their disobedience. We find this frequently in Scripture, i.e., Moses in striking the rock, and David and his sin with Bathsheba.
2. There were approximately 1.2 million Israelites 20 years old and above who died in the desert over a 40-year period. As a result, there were 30,000 funerals per year, meaning there were 82 funerals a day, or 7 funerals an hour.
3. God has written these examples in the Bible for our instruction today.
Romans 15:4: For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
1 Corinthians 10:1–13: For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
4. Do I grumble and complain about God’s provision, trials, or difficulties He has sent my way?
5. Do I have faith that God can help me in whatever He has called me to do and be?