We see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief Not able - paralyzing, disqualifying, incapacitating unbelief. That means that the sooner we face this whole question and, as far as possible, get it settled, the better.
For thirty-eight years Israel was simply locked up, held up, and went round and round, so to speak, on this one question as to whether they were going to believe God. It arose, let me say again, on all kinds of matters. It arose on physical matters, for a life in that wilderness was a great proposition physically.
The Lord did not change the physical conditions. He called for a change in the people themselves first; the physical conditions were settled when He had got the change inside them. When the matter of faith in Him was settled, then the Lord dealt with the physical. The question arose in the circumstantial, the emotional, the intellectual, the volitional realms; the challenge was made along all those lines in numerous ways.
You can take all their experiences and see how each one was a peculiar form of the challenge to faith, and the challenge was changing almost daily in its aspect, its form, but it was the same challenge. It came along every kind of line and the Lord never changed it, never prevented it, never allowed the whole set of conditions to be altered, but always focused on one point.
The thing that matters is the inner man, and not until the issue was settled there, did the Lord deal with all the other things.
Well, that is very comprehensive. Do not think that it is necessarily such-and-such things that account for our condition. These may be contributing factors, they may be very testing, may bear upon us very heavily.
Physical matters - yes, they do press, they do make the situation exceedingly difficult, they do make a difference. Circumstances in which we have to live our lives, they do make a lot of difference, they make the situation exceedingly difficult.
We say, If only the Lord would deal with this physical matter or these circumstances or this something else! It is all due to that, that is the cause of it, the reason for it. That is our way of reasoning, but it is not the Lord's thought at all. The thing is deeper down than that, and it is simply a matter of believing God; resolute faith, confidence in God.
The Lord is trying to get us out of our variable and varying soul life where we are at the mercy of all our feelings, thoughts and reasonings and all that kind of thing, into a realm where, in spirit, we are steadfast.
That is the point upon which it is all fixed in the Psalm. "Their heart was not stedfast with Him" (Psa. 78:37), and around that the whole of their forty years is gathered. The key to this is spiritual; tested by every other line, every other means, it is a spiritual matter ultimately.
To be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inward man (Eph. 3:16) is the answer to it all. The other may then give way; at least, we shall gain ascendancy over the other if it is not removed.
T. Austin Sparks