“We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak” Numbers 13:27-28 (The Message).
I’ve been fascinated with the Israelites and their journey across the desert. I want to discover what they did right and wrong during the forty years they wandered in the desert. My studies have led to a few interesting discoveries.
The first is this: Only two of the original people who left Egypt were allowed to enter the Promised Land. Those aren’t good odds considering there were millions of people along on the hike. The only reason those two were allowed to enter was due to their obedient heart. The reason the rest had to wander around in the heat until they died was because they repeatedly refused to obey God.
That brings me to my next discovery. I realized God used the testing in the desert to prepare His people for the Promised Land. I seemed to remember the story a little differently. I was under the false assumption for years God tested the Israelites for a different reason. I thought He tested them solely to teach them to rely on Him to guide, protect, and provide. I thought once the lesson was learned, then they were “safe.”
On the contrary. Yes, God wanted their hearts devoted to Him. However, there was a bigger lesson He wanted them to learn. He wanted a relationship with His people every day. He didn’t want them to collect faith like shopping for groceries, filling up for a few months before coming back to Him for more. No, He wanted them to come daily with their burdens, asking for His help, His provisions, and His guidance.
Lastly, I was reminded about a truth regarding their victory. In Numbers 13, twelve men were sent out from the desert to spy on the “Promised Land.” Returning to the camp, verse 27 and 28 tell us their report. “They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there”(NIV). Whenever I thought about them reaching their destination, I remembered the milk and honey but seemed to skip over their second discovery. The people who lived there were powerful with very large, fortified cities.
I learned a lot from my study of the Israelites. God wants a relationship with us daily, not just every few months when we need to restock our pantry. God wants my obedience. Choosing to obey or disobey determines how long I stay in the desert and whether or not I reach the Promised Land. The trial I’m going through today is preparation for the Promised Land He delivers me too. Some of the issues I deal with during the desert might remain once my trial is over. I can choose to keep giving those issues to God or I can choose to complain and risk going back to the desert. I know what I want to choose. How do you react when you’re stuck in the desert?
© 2013 Cheri Swalwell