God sent Moses to bring the children of Israel out of their slavery to Egypt. Egypt is a type of the slavery that all of God's people are in until they have been delivered. The Jews of Gospel days were enslaved to an Egyptian bondage and the Pharisees and Sadducees were their task masters. They used the law as a whip to their backs. Some of God's people today are still enslaved to a type of Egyptian bondage and need to be freed.
In their departure from Egypt, the Israelites crossed over the Red Sea. This was very significant in that it typified the beginning of a new life. The Apostle Paul likened their passing through the Red Sea as a baptism (I Corinthians 10:1-2). It was also the end of Pharaoh and his army. They were now out of Egypt. Next, it will be necessary to get Egypt out of them.
Moses and the children of Israel next camped at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19). There they had their first meeting with the Lord. It was fifty days after their first Passover making it their first Pentecost. This is also very significant. God had delivered them out of Egypt and brought them unto Himself to make them a holy nation. From this point on they were to obey the voice of the Lord. Pentecost is always centered around the Word of God.
The children of Israel were encamped around Sinai for two years and then took their journey to Kadesh-barnea where they sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan to search it out and bring back a report. Of the twelve spies only Joshua and Caleb brought a good report. All the rest brought an evil report saying they could not defeat the Amorites and refused to enter the land. God had told them to go in and possess the land, but they rebelled against the Word of the Lord. Consequently, the Lord did not allow the children of Israel to enter the land promised until all the rebellious ones were dead.
Deuteronomy 2:13 Now rise up, said I, and get you over the brook Zered. And we went over the brook Zered.
We will see the importance of the brook Zered shortly. Zered means willows, and it is called the brook of the willows in Isaiah 15:7. In Amos 6:14 it is called the brook of the wilderness.
Deuteronomy 2:14 And the space in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the Lord swore unto them.
"The generation of the men of war" was those who had rebelled against the Lord in refusing to go up and drive out the Amorites. They were refusing to be men of war. So the crossing of the brook Zered marked a new beginning for the Israelites. The "rebellious ones" had been eliminated, bringing them into a new release.
Seas, rivers, and brooks are often spiritual boundary lines. Crossing the Red Sea, for example, was spiritually significant, for they had taken a step out of their slavery; they were a new people. They were not yet all they would be, but they were moving and changing. Now, crossing the brook Zered marked the end of a rebellion that was keeping them out of the will of God.
Notice, also, that thirty-eight years had passed before the work was completed of eliminating the rebellious ones. Their rebelliousness was not dealt with when they came out of Egypt, or when they crossed the Red Sea. Neither was it dealt with when God met them at Mount Sinai. The rebellion was always there within them, but it was not exposed until they faced the difficulties of entering the promised land. So it is with us. Those who think "all old things are passed away, and all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17), just because they are saved, have not yet entered their wilderness experience. The Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites were Israel's relatives, but God did not deal with them as He did with Israel (Deuteronomy 2:8-9). It is those whom God receives as sons who are dealt with, chastened, scourged, and delivered from the rebelliousness of their old nature (Hebrews 12:5-11).
As we journey through our wilderness toward our promise land, the "rebellious ones" we are concerned about are the various aspects of our old nature that rebels against the will of the Lord. It is the purpose of the work of the cross to expose the rebelliousness in our hearts and to eliminate it. When we have our "crossing of the brook Zered" experience, it will be a new beginning for us. We must be set free from the rebelliousness of our old nature before we can enter our inheritance.
Copyright © 2012 by Henry DuBose