Why Moses Missed the Promised Land

Imagine leading a group of people through a desert for forty years, only to be denied entry into the land you’ve been striving to reach. This is the story of Moses and the Israelites. But have you ever wondered why Moses himself did not set foot in the Promised Land? Let’s dive into the reasons behind this fascinating tale.

Failure to Trust God’s Word

In the second movement of Numbers, the Israelites rebel against Yahweh not once, but seven times. Each rebellion stems from a failure to trust God’s word. The story of the twelve spies in Numbers 13 exemplifies this. The spies, sent out from God’s holy place, fail to believe in His promise and are consequently excluded from the land they were meant to conquer. The rebellions continue, culminating in Moses himself turning against God’s word at Kadesh. His unbelief in God’s word becomes a barrier that prevents him from entering the Promised Land.

Kadesh Again

At Kadesh, the same location mentioned in Numbers 13, conflict arises once more. Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites find themselves without water. Instead of following God’s instructions to speak to the rock, Moses strikes it, just as he did in Exodus 17. While water does flow from the rock, Moses’ intentional rebellion becomes apparent. He takes credit for producing the water, disregarding God’s command. This deliberate choice to ignore God’s word is what ultimately leads to Moses being forbidden from entering the Promised Land.

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Blessing Instead of Curse

Surprisingly, despite their constant grumbling and rebellion, Yahweh blesses the Israelites. In Numbers 21, Yahweh grants them victories over Canaanite kings and provides them with water in the wilderness. The account of the Israelites’ interaction with Balaam in Numbers 22-25 further emphasizes this theme. Balaam, hired to curse Israel, pronounces blessings instead. These blessings include prophecies of a future messiah-king who will reign over all nations.

The story of Moses and the Israelites teaches us that God’s grace and blessings persist even when we falter in our faith. Although Moses missed out on entering the Promised Land, the promise of future deliverance and blessing through the coming messiah remains.

So, next time you face a challenge or find it difficult to trust in God’s word, remember the story of Moses. Even the most revered leaders can stumble, but God’s grace and promises endure.

For more in-depth information on biblical themes and movements, explore the 5 WS platform. Discover a treasure trove of knowledge that will enrich your understanding of the Bible.

Show Music:

  • “Defender (Instrumental)” by TENTS
  • “Spiritual Mind” by C Y G N
  • “Easy Chair” by Tyler Bailey


  • “Deir Alla Inscription”
  • Interested in more? Check out Tim’s library here.
  • Experience the literary themes and movements discussed in the BibleProject app, available for Android and iOS.

Produced by Cooper Peltz. Edited by Dan Gummel, Tyler Bailey, and Frank Garza. Show notes by Lindsey Ponder. Podcast annotations for the BibleProject app by MacKenzie Buxman. Powered and distributed by Simplecast.

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