Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Ch «Pg   Pg» Ch» Next Pub.» Forward»

Beginning of the End, Page 207

Why the Long Journey Around Edom?

This chapter is based on Numbers 20:14-29; 21:1-9.

Israel’s camp site at Kadesh was only a short distance from the borders of Edom, and both Moses and the people strongly wanted to follow the route through this country to the Promised Land. So they sent a message to the Edomite king:

“Thus says your brother Israel: ... ‘here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your border. Please let us pass through your country. We will not pass through fields or vineyards, nor will we drink water from wells; we will go along the King’s Highway; we will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.’”

To this courteous request, the Edomite king sent a threatening refusal: “You shall not pass through my land, lest I come out against you with the sword.”

The leaders of Israel sent a second appeal to the king, with the promise, “We will go by the Highway, and if I or my livestock drink any of your water, then I will pay for it; let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.”

“You shall not pass through,” was the answer. Armed groups of Edomites were already posted at the difficult passes, and the Hebrews were forbidden to use force. They must make the long journey around the land of Edom.

If the people had trusted in God, the Captain of the Lord’s army would have led them through Edom. The inhabitants of the land, instead of reacting with hostility, would have shown them favor. But the Israelites did not act promptly on God’s word, and the golden opportunity passed. When they were finally ready to present their request to the king, it was refused. Ever since they left Egypt, Satan had been throwing obstacles in their way so that they might not inherit Canaan, and by their own unbelief they had repeatedly opened the door for him.

When God tells His children to go forward, Satan tempts them to displease the Lord by hesitating and delaying. He tries to stir up disagreements, complaining, or unbelief, and so cheat them out of the blessings God wants to give. God’s servants should be ready to follow God immediately. Any delay on their part gives Satan time to work to defeat them.

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Ch «Pg   Pg» Ch» Next Pub.» Forward»