Previously, when I would read or hear a sermon about the Israelites in the wilderness, I would secretly judge them as faithless. With 66 books of God-man experiences at my disposal and the gift of the Holy Spirit, judging the Israelites was like trying to play a cd on a turntable. lol Lately, I have noticed a shift in my perspective. Today, I feel empathy for God’s Chosen People and a kinship with them.
Like us, God gave them a promise, a vision of freedom and blessings in the Promised Land. It was described as a land flowing with milk and honey. Yet the excitement produced by the miraculous Exodus from Egypt was not followed by a short walk into paradise, but a 40 year expedition typified by drought and hunger.
God said through his servant Moses,
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.__ Deuteronomy 8:2-5 NIV
My wilderness season, the gap between the vision and the promise, has been a quiet time– lest I too murmur and complain. Not that I doubt God’s ability and commitment, but I struggle with God’s timing and method.
It is a “trying” time. Holding on to a vision of grapes and pomegranates while walking through the thorns and thistles. Not perishing, but wearying and weathering as I continue on the journey.
For we walk by faith, not by sight_ 2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV