With barely six months remaining in their desert exile, the people of Israel could still speak the unthinkable, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in a wilderness?” (Numbers 21:5). God was invisible and unreal to Israel. After forty long years, they simply did not believe.

With Israel blinded to their ever-present salvation, God then unleashed upon the people a danger of the desert—reminding them just Who had the power to hold it back. In answer to the defining, forty-year-old lesson which Israel had failed to learn, God gave His condemning response. Read more