My latest adventure with God has been all about learning to embrace the journey. How can I have a faith that remains solid when things around me seem troubling? How can I learn to be at peace when the storm is raging and trust the master that sleeps in the boat? As I prayed through and pondered these things I was led to revisit the story of the Israelites. I was reminded that their journey was certainly not all sunshine and it took them longer than what may have been originally intended but they did make it to the promised land.
Here are a few things that encouraged me as I began to read back through their story….
God took Israel the long route on purpose.
“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.”
This was super cool. So God basically knew that if he made it too easy then the Israelites would run right back to what they knew. He knew that their faith had to be tested and they needed to see him perform miracles in order to make it to the promised land. He knew that if they were confronted with hardship too soon and their faith hadn’t had the opportunity to grow then they’d run back. He knew that if he took them the long way then they wouldn’t be able to run back and would thus be forced to see God move in marvelous ways. AMAZING! It certainly made me think about how God moves the same way in my life. Not giving me the easy routes because it wants to test me but he also wants me to be able to see him bring me through. AMEN!
2. God didn’t just perform a couple of miracles and then let those suffice. He continuously met their needs.
“So the people of Israel ate manna for forty years until they arrived at the land where they would settle. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.”
Exodus 16:35 NLT
For some reason I’ve always thought of the story of God supplying manna from heaven as being an isolated event but no! They ate manna for 40 years y’all! God continued to supply their needs. FOR 40 YEARS! For 40 years they had provision until they came to the promised land. This was so encouraging. God kept them. Yes he parted the Red Sea. Yes he caused water to flow out of a rock. But he continuously kept them. I think in my life I can keep my eyes on the look out for the parting of the Red Sea. You know the big, miraculous event that really just removes any question in my mind of their being a God. But what about the manna he supplies everyday? I’m convicted by that. Why do I overlook the manna he supplies everyday as if that isn’t enough and God needs to show me more in order for my faith to increase? This is an area I desperately need to repent in.
New year new me! In 2019 I’m embracing the everyday manna! Haha
3. I see God’s heart through the fact that he wanted to test Israel. God wanted to see and know that they were truly committed to him. He wanted to be wanted.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.”
Exodus 16:4 NLT
It was interesting to see that God’s provision was actually a test of the Israelites hearts. I think about that in my own life. What if the abundance (or even the “just enough”) in my life is meant to be a test of my heart to see what kind of steward I will be over it?
Aside from that though I love what this scripture reveals about God. He wanted to see the Israelites be faithful to him. He wanted to see that they loved him more than they loved his gift. How are we doing in that area? Do we love the giver more than the gift? (Sidenote: I’ve been learning more about this as I’ve been reading up on fasting as well). In what areas of our life have we replaced joy and contentment found in our relationship with our God with joy and contentment found in what our God has given us thus created a god? Interesting things to ponder. As for me, I want more of the real thing. No more filling my time with temporary joys that don’t matter. My prayer for me this year is embrace the journey with my Lord and Savior. I want to look for God in each day no matter how mundane or how exciting. I want to be filled up by my relationship with him. Not food, clothes, relationships/friendships, money, poppin curls (I’m kidding) or anything else. But truly truly truly just in love with my God.
Who’s with me?
Yours in love