“Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands…… “So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking.
This weekend was just a MESS! I had stuff Friday night, then a newborn photo session on Saturday in which I took OVER 200 photos and then had to sit down and go through ALL of them, pick out my favorites and the BEST ones, and edit….over 60 of them are PERFECT, BEAUTIFUL portraits for them to choose from….and then of course, church Sunday. So my lesson I ALWAYS do on Saturday, was not blogged.
But God is GOOD. We talked about the Israelites in the wilderness in Sunday School, and our incredible Pastor (blog over there—–> ) preached on the SAME thing in church, which only ADDED to my blog! YAY!
I am constantly amazed at this story in the Bible….God brings the Israelites OUT of bondage in Egypt, only to grumble and complain and whine and cry all over God when things are not perfect! And we ALL know that NONE of us ever do that! We are always happy and full of joy. Ahem.
God LED them by a CLOUD in the daytime, and a pillar of FIRE by night! GPS system, God-style. Seriously, how COOL is that? And God, can you do that again now? I’m feeling a bit lost and flustered now and could use a physical manifestation of where You want me to go….what You want me to do….things are changing, I can feel them changing, I’m all antsy for it to come….and yet, here I still sit…..same place….same waiting….things aren’t going the way I thought they’d be going….can Ya speed things up a bit?
(….oh I KNOW I’m the only one that ever thinks like that…. )
God not only LED them, but He told them WHEN TO GO, WHERE TO GO, and HOW LONG TO STAY THERE. They had to be OBEDIENT to what the Lord commanded, and where He led, and they had to WAIT on His timing.
Yeah, we’re not all into that are we? We want to sit and either do things OUR way, or WAIT til we have all the information mapped out for us before we take that first step. And MY EXCUSES are always: What if I got it wrong, then I did something I shouldn’t have….I’ll mess it up unless I know FOR SURE what I’m supposed to do….and not just go here, I want ALL the details upfront….
We are to be OBEDIENT now…..in the WAITING…in the NOT KNOWING, and that can be just plain hard for some of us chicken-hearts. Lord….I don’t mind stepping out…but I still have this stack of bills that aren’t gonna pay themselves….I still have these 3 kids that keep calling me MOM I have to feed….and take places with me….Lord, I don’t wanna eat anything gross….
Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.
And what does He have for us if we do?
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills…… It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking…. When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt….. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.
This wilderness time is to prepare us for what’s ahead. It’s to refocus our hearts and minds on Christ, build our faith….learn to trust and FULLY rely on God. God doesn’t sit on a cloud with voodoo dolls of us, sticking pins randomly here and there to torture us. That isn’t how He works. He LOVES us. And He WANTS to bless us. But like any parent, He doesn’t reward us if we are DISOBEDIENT. If we do not follow Him.
Look at this…
Psalm 106:13-15 (New Living Translation)
Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done!
They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!
In the wilderness their desires ran wild,
testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland.
So he gave them what they asked for,
but he sent a plague along with it.
There are consequences for disobedience, and thanks, but a plague of ANYTHING on me doesn’t sound pleasant. Thanks, I’ll take what was behind Door #1…is that one still available, God?
We all have our Wilderness….some are NOT fun, some are mild compared to others, some are just downright BACK-BREAKING, but there is a purpose.
And now as I sit in my Wilderness, not knowing where to go, what to do….I am concentrating on making sure MY heart is in the right place, my mind in tune with His, my plan looking more like His plan….and I sit. And I wait some more. I am still reading the Bible through in a year…even through these rules and laws of ribbon colors and string lengths, wall dimensions…and yet, I continue on. If God is THIS precise with robes that the prophets wear, the tabernacle for worship….He is being THIS precise over MY life as well. All in the details….meaning not one bill is being left out….not one child is being forgotten….my fears and phobias are being looked at and weighed and measured….doesn’t mean they will be MY way, but He knows me, and He takes care of ALL the details for me….
And I am starting Experiencing God today. In all of this….I want to EXPERIENCE God…not just know Him.
So don’t be afraid of the Wilderness….it’s to prepare us for the Promised Land.