So are you tiring yet of ‘lockdowns’, ‘curfews’ and ‘social isolation’? The ‘stay at home’ message which must be well known worldwide, has a certain benefit in health terms. But after a while, the view from our front door or window seems to become tedious and the activities in which we might engage inside our dwelling become somewhat repetitive. Spare a thought then for the Israelites in the wilderness! Camping in a tent appeals to some—but only for a holiday! But having to live in a tent for forty years must surely test patience and create tension! In some ways, perhaps we have shared similar experiences, even if for us, it has only been for just a couple of months to date.
In such circumstances, as Israel looked ahead to their promised inheritance and were to begin a new era, there is a powerful message that God gave His people through Moses, that should be relevant for us also. In our first Bible reading yesterday and today (Deuteronomy chs 1 & 2), God reminds Israel (and us) of how close He has been to them in their travels. Despite the fact that a generation of fighting men had perished in the wilderness over nearly forty years of their ‘wandering’, He had stayed close to them. Moses describes God’s care as follows:
“Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them (Israel’s enemies). The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.” (ch 1 vv 29-33)
Again, similar words in today’s reading (ch 2 v 7):
“The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.”
God had gone ahead to find them the safest path to travel and then searched out and chosen for them, the best places in which they could set up their camp. He had carried them. He had blessed them to such an extent, that they had not lacked a thing!
Is that how you feel? Staying at home, God is still with us. He continues to provide for our every need, regardless of our circumstances, and blesses our every effort! He goes ahead and searches out the safest path and shows us the way we should go!
Like Israel, our journeying is coming to an end. The return of Jesus and the establishment of God’s kingdom may be almost upon us. As we commence another week, let us be grateful for His unceasing love, His provision for our every need and the assurance that we each have, that He has shown us the way we should go.
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