Like the Israelites, I often feel like I’m wandering in my own kind of wilderness. I kind of know what’s up ahead, but I’m currently dwelling in the wait.
The almost within reach, yet so far away Promised Land beckons to me. It taunts me. I cry out to God, “How much longer do I have to wait?”
Oh, I know, I haven’t truly been walking across the desert floor for 40 years, and my promised land isn’t a land filled with milk and honey.
We each have our own modern day promised lands. For me it’s all my hopes and dreams finally being fulfilled, it’s answers to prayers, it’s my children growing up to love the Lord, it’s one day seeing my maker face-to-face. I’m waiting for Jesus to perform a miracle.
The Israelites saw their fair share of signs and wonders that God performed through Moses.
While standing at the edge of the vast Red Sea, with their captors closing in on them, doubt and fear surely crept in. They turned to Moses and said, “For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:12b NKJV
They were ready to go right back into slavery because they had no idea how big God was or what He could do for them.
Sometimes we need a Moses to remind us who our God is.
“And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”” Exodus 14:13-14 NKJV
Then Moses lifted his hands up, and through him, God caused the waters to be parted, and the Israelite people were able to cross the Red Sea safely.
Nowhere does it say that they questioned God or Moses. They just hurried across.
When God parts waters, you don’t ask questions, you just get across!
Years later, that day long forgotten, they were still in the wilderness, still waiting to reach the Promised Land. Many of the ones that walked across the dry sand of the Red Sea have since died, and many others were either too young to remember or not even born when it happened. They’ve only heard the stories.
How is it possible to wander in the desert for 40 years?
A couple weekends ago, I finally understood. I got lost in the desert. Thankfully, I had maps, a GPS watch, and a friend that knew more than I did, and we were eventually able to safely navigate our way back to the car.
But the Israelites didn’t have any fancy equipment. They didn’t know where they were going, only that they had been led there by Moses. And now, they were divinely lost.
God Waited to Show Them the Way Out Until the Appointed Time
You see, God has a schedule – it’s called His plan. And He has His reasons. Those reasons don’t have to make sense to us.
“But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?” Romans 9:20a ESV
This is where faith and obedience come in. God expects us to fully trust Him to bring us to our promised land at just the right time. That is the time that He has appointed.
And while we wait, we are called to love Him, obey Him, trust Him.
We Must Always Remember All that He Has Done for Us.
In his last days on earth, Moses spoke to the Israelite people, and told them what God wanted them to hear, to remember, to continue because he knew how the people were.
As they waited to enter the promised land, they grew restless, and they would often forget all that God did for them.
He knew that they would forget even more easily when things were good. Since when do we call on God when we don’t need His help? We get busy living our life, and we leave God on the back-burner.
Moses said to them, “When God brings you into the promised land, take care, lest you forget God, who brought you out of Egypt and slavery.” Deuteronomy 6:10-12 ESV
How easy it is to forget all that God has done for me! It’s easy to stray off course, like a sheep who has gone astray.
Even with my Garmin watch leading me back to the trail, there was no telling how many slippery slopes we would have to climb over, and there was no way of knowing what would be on the other side.
If you want to stay on course, and eventually reach your promised land, you must stay close to God, remember all He has done for you, and continue to trust Him to provide all your needs.
Questions for Thought & Reflection
1. What is your promised land? Describe what you envision your life to look like if your deepest desires were fulfilled. Do you ever get glimpses of the promised land? How does that make you feel?
2. Do you ever find yourself grumbling and complaining about the wait? Do you find yourself wondering how much longer? Do you doubt that the promised land you’re waiting for is even real? What will you do to encourage yourself as you wait and wander? What will you do to keep yourself on track?
3. What are some of the challenges you face in your wilderness? How can you address these challenges so they don’t derail you?
Please comment below if you would like to share your answers to these questions.