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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

D'varim 44-5


Deuteronomy 2:2-2:30 

The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything... Thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley. By then, that entire generation of fighting men had perished from the camp, as the LORD had sworn to them. The LORD's hand was against them until he had completely eliminated them from the camp.

Deut. 2:7, 14-15 NIV

Were the forty years a waste of time?

The sons and daughters of Israel weren't prepared to enter the promised land when they left Egypt. In the first place, they had to receive the Torah in order to form a strong people in the new land. The strength of the people of Israel comes from their obedience to the commandments and the divine presence.

The damage that Egypt did to their souls as slaves had not been repaired because the people didn't humble themselves enough before the Eternal. In spite of their love, devotion, praise, generosity and disposition to obey when things went well, they weren't prepared to face the new situation that the conquest and the life in the promised land would mean.

In moments of crisis rebellion was manifested. The people couldn't overcome their yetser harah (evil inclination) and that's why they couldn't have defeated, neither the giants that were in the promised land nor the enemies who were going to attack them from the outside later on.

The forty years served to purify the people. The generation of rebels had to die out little by little. Not one of them could enter the promised land. Those forty years were of preparation and purification.

The Eternal took care of His people during that time. He gave them bread from heaven and water from the rock. He protected their clothes and sandals so they would not wear and tear. He gave them shade during the day and warmth during the night. They lacked nothing to survive and to be more or less well. Besides, He had blessed everything they had done during that time of preparation.

Those 40 years were very important to forge a strong generation, free from complaint and rebellion, free from disbelief and inner struggle; a generation ready to arise together as one man to conquer the land of the promise and carry out the Eternal's vengeance upon His enemies; a generation that was willing to be faithful, not only during easy times, but specially during difficulties. This kind of people is not formed in a year or two. HaShem needed those 40 years and that time wasn't in vain.

Don't be discouraged in the wait for the fulfillment of promises. The time in the desert is good to reveal to ourselves how we react in face of adversity in order to bring out any rebellion and eliminate it. HaShem will not allow us to enter in the fulfillment of our calling until all rebellion is dead and for that, we need time. The forty years were long for the people, but necessary to produce that beautiful result.



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