Christ and Death in the Wilderness

Death.

I’ve been thinking about death this Holy Week.

The Great Separation. The Dread. The Fear.

 Sinai. Imagine.

Sinai. Imagine.

And I have been reading about the Israelites and the end of their 18-month journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. They are on the border at a place called Kadesh. God says trust Me and go. They say um we’d like to check it out first.

Big mistake.

They decide the large occupiers are bigger than God. They panic. They resist.

What should have been a “short, swift, decisive march,” as one scholar puts it, turns into a 38 year nightmare. It is often called “Wandering in the Wilderness”. Let’s call it “Waiting Around to Die”. Here are some details:

  • The history of Israel is suspended.
  • There is no evidence that the tribes held together during those terrible years, but probably scattered far and wide across the Sinai Peninsula.
  • The rite of circumcision (that mark of the covenant and foreshadowing of baptism) and the observance of Passover very likely fall into disuse.
  • Disease and death revive full force.
  • Idolatry is practiced; there are hints of child sacrifice.
  • There is no purpose except waste of time.
  • There is no end but death.

Doubt and vicious complaining give way to active disobedience one time too many. Death is the new reality.

I’ve been pondering this.

God’s eye remained on the people He loved even as they wasted away in the devastating consequences of their own choices. He provided food, water, and clothing. He provided pasturelands for their flocks.

One day He would provide a Savior, a final sacrifice for our sin, a vanquisher of Death.

 No fear.

No fear.

I’ve been reading:

  •  Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. He died to sin once for all. (Romans 6:9,10)

and:

  • He releases those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:15; there is something very moving about this verse.)

and:

  • I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. And I have the keys of the Unseen Realm and of Death. (Revelation 1:18)

Jesus Christ through His own violent death, once for all of us, removed the bondage, the prison, the sting, the fear, the dread of it.

And now no wilderness can take that away.

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