We’ll never feel conviction from our sins quite like the Israelites did,
not only offering sacrifices every time they fell short…..
but also every time they even had thoughts of falling short.
We’ll never know the fatigue of wandering in the wilderness for forty years,
or the awe of being led by a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of clouds by day.
We can read about it all day long,
but the truth is,
we’ll never truly grasp what it felt like to travel forty years
in the same clothes and the same shoes
with no need of replacing them.
God demanded a lot of His chosen people,
but He took care of them all along the way,
making His presence known with every step they took
and somehow preventing what they wore from ever wearing out.
As difficult as it has been to blog through the Old Testament so far,
one thing has been evident.
God chose the Israelites and He didn’t go back on the promises He made to them.
As Deuteronomy started this morning,
Moses stood before the Israelites and recapped their wilderness journey with them
just before they stepped forward to enter the Promised Land.
As if he knew they needed a reminder of God’s presence and leading,
Moses breaks down their story into sections so that they can see why certain things happened when they did,
and how they ended up where they were on this particular day.
He wanted them to grasp with confidence just how faithful God had been at getting them to this place in spite of their grumbling and complaining all along the way.
He also wanted them to realize that even in the wilderness,
God never kept them in one place any longer than necessary.
Moses begins by reflecting on their time at Mt. Sinai
where God gave them the law and taught them just how serious it was to disobey it.
For a whole year, they camped here at Horeb.
Fear and trembling were the norm at this campsite..
People died when they ventured too close to this mountain.
The power of God’s presence had to be seen AND taught in order to be appreciated and understood.
Once they grasped His Holiness and their daily need for it,
they were ready for their journey.
So in Deuteronomy 1:6, Moses reminds them of the day when God finally said,
“You have stayed at this mountain long enough. Resume your journey.”
After a year in this same place in the desert,
I can only imagine how ready they were to pack up their tents and get on their way.
With no clocks and no calendars,
the sun and stars were their only way of keeping track of time.
And nearly 365 sunrises would have been a lot to tally without a dry erase board and marker.
Did they even appreciate the power of the sunrise in the wilderness –
before the Son had actually risen?
I have so many questions when I get to Heaven.
That will be definitely be one of them if I get to interview any of these people.
I’ve often thought I would love if Heaven offered workshops for the first 10,000 years.
I’d love to move from cloud to cloud,
learning the back stories of people like Abraham, Noah, and Moses.
For this morning, though, I have to believe I’ve been given all I need to know for life on this planet
in the pages of the Bible.
And this morning,
I learned this.
God keeps us where we need to be as long as we need to be there…….
but not one day longer than necessary.
He uses every mountain in our life as a teachable moment.
And He uses every valley too.
We may not know until we’re looking back on life just how much we learned at each stop along the way,
but I do believe there’s not one day or week or year that’s wasted in our journey.
I can see the winding path of my own life up to this point and how even my years of taking typing and shorthand as a twenty year old college student prepared me for this morning as I sit at a keyboard over thirty years later,
clicking away with my somewhat wrinkled hands in the exact same positions as my youthful hands rested on a keyboard so many years earlier.
I never would have dreamed writing would have been my main reason for needing typing skills.
But God knew.
As I sat in the computer lab of Cincinnati Bible College day after day typing the sentence,
“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,”
over and over again in order to practice moving more and more quickly over all letters of the keyboard,
God was preparing me for today.
And as I’ve faced much harder days,
He has prepared me for even harder moments.
Strengthening my heart and mind just as he strengthened my fingers.
Moving me on only after I had learned what I needed for the next leg of my journey.
I believe every day is both a time of learning for tomorrow and a time of putting into practice what we learned yesterday.
Spiritually as well as physically.
No chapter is insignificant.
But no chapter is forever either.
So here we are,
three chapters into Deuteronomy and far from Mt. Sinai.
Almost to receive the Promised Land yet not too far from the law to forget how much it matters.
I think that’s what this Monday’s reading is all about for me.
It’s a reminder of where I’ve been and where I’m going.
It’s the Hope of all that is to come with the gentle whisper of all that has already been.
It’s the standing at the crossroad of my past and my future and realizing that every single day is actually a chance to stand at this same place,
taking a moment to look back while having the courage to step forward.
I’m not sure what this year holds for our family.
There are lots of questions looming in my mind this morning.
But this I know for sure, just as the Israelites knew several thousand years ago,
God is with me.
He held yesterday and He holds tomorrow,
but most of all,
HE HOLDS TODAY.
I’m not sure what else I need to know this morning.