u—weren’t meant for the desert #-2 the conclusion
Now the real work of deliverance begins. How do a million slaves become a nation? How will they eat when all the food rations run out? What about water, clothes and SPF-55 suntan lotion? And btw, what are the rules and where did Moses say they where going? They had questions with no answers at least none that satisfied them. So they began the nice habit of groaning, moaning, and complaining in the desert.
But God had a plan and answers. He sends Manna—literally defined as what is it, quail, and water from rocks so that they survive. He leads them in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night so that they are secure. He sets up a system of rules, regulation and ten commands so that they move toward community. But no good deed goes unpunished, so they basically ignore and disregard God’s directions and commands and end up with and extended stay in the desert. Some say that their trek through the desert should have taken a year or two at the most but they just kept taking lap after lap in the desert. The Children of Israel didn’t just take one or two or even three laps around Mount Sinai but they went around and around and around (getting dizzy yet) for forty (count them) years due to their own hardheaded disobedience. I guess that’s why we call them the “children” of Israel.
They had a plan…they had a promise…they had protection. They even had provisions for the trip. Their clothes didn’t even wear out. But they also had frighten secret agents who came back from spying out the land with reports of giants that were too big…walls that were too fortified…and armies that were too fierce. And so they just kept on taking laps around Mt Sinai.
Now back to my beginning question—Why would any group of people who were promised a great place to live—a promised land choose to live in the complete opposite—a desert? The reason I asked the question is this, I’m a Joshua-type leader of a faith community who after three looong years of trying, have finally made it through the desert and are heading toward the Jordan River. NOW, comes the hard work of deciding whom we will listen to. Sure there are giants in the land of promise…but, I remember the story of a little boy, a sling and five smooth stones that equaled no giant. It’s true, the walls of the occupiers of the land are fortified—but Jericho’s walls came tumbling down one day after a number of laps around them and a loud shout. The armies of the land may even be huge in number—but God did use Gideon and three hundred careful drinkers to defeat Midian’s huge army.
The sad truth is that some folks have been on their way to the Promised Land for such a looong time—that they’ve gotten used to the desert. And now they can’t even distinguish the difference between the two. You can hear them saying things like, “Hey, the desert’s not so bad after all. We get all the manna and quail we can eat, cool refreshing water from the rocks, and to top it all off we also get God in a cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. What more could a good desert dweller ask for?” Desert dwelling appears ok at first, but the consequence of purposely choosing to dwell/ live/exist in the desert is that you soon forget that it’s not your destination or God’s promise for you.
The reality is that all of us are susceptible to desert dwelling/living, if we aren’t dialed God promise for us. We’re busy people doing good things for the Kingdom—things that can keep us from the main thing if we are not careful. The desert is a nice pass-through on the way to God’s promise for us but it’s not the destination because we weren’t meant for the desert… jfhey-ii
Then Joshua gave orders to the people's leaders: "Go through the camp and give this order to the people: 'Pack your bags. In three days you will cross this Jordan River to enter and take the land God, your God, is giving you to possess.'" Joshua 1:10-11 (MSG)