We’ve been following the Israelites around in the wilderness for 40 years in our Chronological Bible reading. Well, we’ve not actually been following them for 40 years; we’ve just been reading about them wandering in the wilderness since February 6th! Yesterday, March 25th, we crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land with the Israelites in our reading.
What could have taken these people just a few days took 40 years to get to the land God had promised when He miraculously led them out of slavery in Egypt. The reason: grumbling, complaining and neglecting to trust God along the way! Finally, one generation died off and God gave the go ahead for them to enter Canaan. Just before entering the Promised Land, Moses reminded the people of several things they needed to remember about God. You can read about it in Deuteronomy 6:4-13.
• They were reminded that the LORD their God was the one and only.
• They were to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and strength.
• They were to teach their children about God at all times; when they were at home, along the road, when they went to bed and got up…pretty much all day!
• They were not to forget what God had done for them when they entered the land flowing with milk and honey.
• They were not to follow other gods of the peoples who were already living in the land.
I sure am glad to be reading about the Israelites’ journey rather than taking it with them! However, I’ve had a few wilderness times of my own where I’ve been stubborn, rebellious, and whiny. Although I’ve learned lots of things from the journey of the Israelites, here are a few of the many things I have observed:
1. Complaining and grumbling will get you nowhere fast. God miraculously delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt through parting the Red Sea, but three days into the journey they began to grumble and complain because they didn’t have any water. Their complaining eventually led to God saying, “Okay, have it your way. You will not enter the land that I promised. Instead, your children will be the ones to enter.” (my paraphrase)
2. God provides even when I don’t deserve it. God provided for the Israelites not just with water, but with manna and quail to eat even though they constantly felt like God had forgotten them. God’s love for His people remained constant even though they messed up time and again. He never changed.
3. God has the plan and I must trust Him when His plan is not going according to my plan! God knew the plans He had for them if they would have waited on Him. So often I want to default to my plan rather than waiting on God to show me His plan. Every. Single. Time. His. Plan. Is. Better.
4. Remember not to forget all that God has done along the way. Moses wanted to ensure when they got into the land, they did not forget who had led them there. Nothing in the land, the cities, houses, vineyards, etc. had been provided by the people. God was the Provider and Moses wanted to make sure they remembered it!
It is so easy to ridicule the Israelites for not trusting God until we realize we are guilty of the same. Want a surefire way to remember and not forget all God has done for you? Count His blessings. Let me encourage you today to begin to make an ongoing list of things for which you are grateful. Every so often go down the list so that you won’t make the mistake the Israelites did and forget that God is the provider of “every good and perfect gift.” James 1:17
Leave your comments below and let’s count God’s blessings.