The speaker here is God. And he declares that he is angry.
We prefer to speak about Godís love and mercy (kindness). But people who refuse Godís mercy will not escape his anger.
The Bible often speaks about Godís anger. And it is not just the Old Testament (the books that existed before Jesusí birth). The New Testament (the books that the first Christians wrote) also speaks about Godís anger. See John 3:36; Romans 1:18 and Ephesians 5:6.
God became so angry with the people in this passage because they refused to obey him. Although he had been very kind to them, they would not trust him. They continued to have this attitude for their whole lives. And so Godís anger against them lasted until they were all dead. These were the people whom God had rescued from their lives as slaves in Egypt. But God would not allow any of them to enter the new country that he gave to their children.
God uses a word-picture to describe their wrong attitudes. Before people had cars, they travelled on animals like donkeys. A donkey is like a small horse.
A good donkey soon learns the regular journeys that its master takes. It knows where to go. Its master hardly needs to direct it.
But donkeys are well-known for their bad behaviour. Sometimes a donkey stops in the middle of the road. Sometimes it wanders off the road. And it seems to do these things for no reason. Its master may urge it. He may beat it. But it still refuses to obey. It is not just the donkeyís behaviour that is wrong. It is its attitude. It does not want to obey. It acts as if it does not belong to its master.
People behave like that when the desires of their hearts are wrong. They act as if God is not their master. They refuse to obey him. And they even refuse when there is no reason for such behaviour. They are like donkeys that constantly leave the proper road. They are always doing what is wrong.
And such attitudes cause God to become angry with them.
Next part: Godís oath (Hebrews 3:11)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.