“Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir.” — Deuteronomy 1:2
I was reading Deuteronomy the other day, and I had trouble getting past verse 2 of the book before my mind started to wander off in a different direction. (Maybe it is just me, but sometimes my mind has a mind of its own.) Verse 2 says, “Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea” (NLT).
In other words, a simple journey that should have taken about two weeks took thirty-eight years (they had already stayed two years at Mt. Sinai – Numbers 1:1). It made me wonder how many times I’ve over-stayed my welcome in one place because I murmured, complained and doubted God’s word. I’d hate to count.
Kadesh-barnea should have been a place of blessing. It was the place God directed Moses to lead the people so that they would have direct access into the Promised Land, but due to a rebellious spirit, it became a place of cursing. Although Kadesh means “Holy” or “consecrated,” a brief study of this place shows it was anything but a holy place to the rebellious children of Israel.
As a concession to the people who doubted that God knew what He was doing (Deut. 1:19-22), Moses allowed twelve men to go into the Promised Land as scouts. A majority of these men reported seeing large, walled cities and a people who descended from giants. What they saw with their eyes then suffocated their faith, and the people claimed that the LORD hated them and brought them here to be slaughtered (Deut. 1:25). (Perhaps this is where too much information can hinder our faith in God?)
It was at Kadesh that Korah’s rebellion took place (Num. 16) and over 250 people died. Miriam died and was buried at Kadesh (Num. 20:1), and it was here that Moses disobeyed the Lord by striking the rock he was directed to speak to (Numb. 20:8-11). Finally, it was not too long after God told the Israelites to move from Kadesh toward Canaan that Aaron died (Num. 20:23-29).
I believe there are many times when God withholds information because He knows we need to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). I know that my faith would have faltered had I known about every giant I was going to face in the places God sent me to live. This is why I am learning to be satisfied with knowing less and believing more. Continue Reading