Happy New Month!
We are officially halfway through 2019, what a fitting month to talk about The Journey.
Our theme all throughout June is “The Journey”, which I believe is a prominent theme throughout the Bible. Every person we read about has a very unique journey, from Noah to Abraham to the Israelites and even Jesus. But even, as humans we all have different stories, different paths that we have taken that has led us to where we are right now, and the journey is not finished yet, which is the beautiful thing, because we can always change the direction in which we’re going.
Today we’re going to talk particularly about, what I believe to be one of the most intense and longest journeys in the scripture, the journey the Israelites took to reach the promise land.
There are many ways that this very journey is relevant to each and every one of us today. So, let's dive in!
Firstly, it’s a known fact that they took 40 years to reach the promise land from Egypt, which is insane! On paper, the journey should only take two weeks on foot. So why did they spend 40 years wandering in the wilderness?
It simply comes down to their hearts and their attitude
The Israelites were captured in slavery in Egypt for many generations. Then God used Moses and Aaron to free them from Egypt through a series of plagues. The final plague, the death of all the firstborns, resulted in the pharaoh letting Gods people go (You can read about this in Exodus). So, the Israelites left Egypt on Passover to embark on what they didn’t know would be a forty-year journey to the promise land.
Moses led the people through the wilderness following Gods commands but just after three days into the journey, the Israelites began to complain. Now imagine you’re leading, a whole nation to this ‘promise land’, there were about 600,000 people! (There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Exodus 12:37) Now, imagine they’re all complaining! Just three days in! It must have been a lot to put up with.
The problem with complaining is not just that it is annoying but it is a sign of ungratefulness. God had just freed them from 400 years of bondage and slavery in Egypt. God had heard their cry and answered their prayers, but even still, only three days into the dessert they had already began complaining. Therefore, this upset God. But God remained faithful to his promise to his people, even though the Israelites continued to rebel over and over again. When we think about it, God provided for them throughout the rebelling, God kept them safe and continued to demonstrate his power but
they still rebelled and disobeyed God. So, it’s no surprise that it took them forty years to reach the promise land.
Earlier I said that the Israelites journey was still relevant today and to each of us, this is because it almost mirrors our Christian journeys. You see, when you’re going through hard times, for example, bondage, whether physical or spiritual bondage, we are quick to call on God’s name for freedom. We believe that He will free us and He does. But most times as part of the journey to freedom, comes discipline and sacrifice. We sometimes find ourselves in the ‘wilderness’, nothing is moving, you feel stuck. So, you complain, you find yourself saying things like “I don’t understand why God is leaving me in this period of wilderness”, “when will this end?” rather than saying “God, help to come out of this wilderness.”, “I know that you have a plan Lord, tell me what I need to do”.
I believe that when you find yourself in a dry season, there is a change approaching in your life, whether it’s a spiritual change or physical change, it is approaching. But God needs your full attention and unfortunately the best way for God to grab your attention is through having you in the wilderness because that is when we pray more, that is when we seek His face and his voice the most. Even though we should always be seeking God through good and bad, we seem to seek Him the most when we’re going through the bad. The wilderness is also not a completely negative thing because it’s in that moment that we grow closer to God, Jesus went into the wilderness himself. It is also how God disciplines us and frees us of bad fruit, bad habits and character that is not pleasing to him and he humbles us and reminds us to lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
So, as we all continue to embark on our journeys, let us all seek the Lord through everything. Let us not only wait for the bad times to struck. Let us not spend 40 years wandering on a two-week journey.
God Bless You.