Ellen G. White Writings

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From Eternity Past, Page 285

Chapter 36—Forty Years of Wandering in the Wilderness

For nearly forty years the children of Israel were lost to view in the obscurity of the desert. In the rebellion at Kadesh they had rejected God, and God had for the time rejected them. Since they had proved unfaithful to His covenant, they were not to receive the sign of the covenant, the rite of circumcision. Their desire to return to the land of slavery had shown them to be unworthy of freedom; and the Passover, instituted to commemorate deliverance from bondage, was not to be observed.

Yet the continuance of the tabernacle service testified that God had not utterly forsaken His people. And His providence still supplied their wants. “The Lord thy God ... knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.” Deuteronomy 2:7. God cared for Israel even during these years of banishment: “Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them... . In the wilderness ... their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.” Nehemiah 9:20, 21.

The wilderness was to serve as a discipline for the rising generation, preparatory to their entrance into the Promised Land. Moses declared, “As a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee,” “to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no. And He ... suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not,

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