Blessings in the Wilderness
I’ve been reading in Deuteronomy lately which probably seems strange. I mean…who says, “I’m having a hard time figuring out what to study in the Bible. I think I’ll hang out in Deuteronomy?” If you do, in fact, say this, please raise your hand because I need to shake it.
If you are like me and don’t tread down the steps of Deuteronomy much, the first couple of chapters recount Israel’s history prior to entering the Promised Land.
God was all prepared to give them this land flowing with milk and honey. He was going to hand it over to them. He was going to fight the battles required to occupy it. All they had to do was trust and be obey.
That sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Afterall…
These people saw God inflict ten plagues on the Egyptians because Pharaoh would not let them go.
They heard the Spirit of God pass over their houses and save their firstborn sons because the doorposts were tinged with the blood of a lamb.
They saw Him lead them with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.
They saw Him split open the Red Sea so they could cross on dry ground.
They saw Him swallow up their enemies by closing that same sea.
So, of course God could fight the battles for them.
Of course he could deliver it into their hands.
They had seen it first hand.
But as you may know, that is not what happened. As they were standing near the Promised Land, they wanted to send spies over to see who inhabited it and if the land was, indeed, flowing with milk and honey.
So, they sent spies over instead of going with God and taking His word for it. Their intel, it seemed, was more reliable than God’s word.
The spies came back and confirmed the land was bountiful and beautiful, but the people there were scary and some of them were giants.
All but two of the twelve spies sent did not believe God would do what He said he would do. The enemy was just too strong and their odds weren’t that great.
And because they saw the obstacles through their own eyes and not through the eyes of faith, they didn’t trust. They didn’t obey when God told them to go fight.
This did not go over well. God was angry with them, and he swore that unbelieving generation would never enter the Promised Land.
It was over that quick for an entire generation because they did not trust the LORD.
How often am I guilty of the same?
So, for forty years, the entire nation wandered in the wilderness waiting for the last of that generation to die.
In Deuteronomy 2, God tells them they’ve wandered long enough and provides directions for their next steps:
- Go North
- You’ll go through the land of Edom & they will be threatened (so be careful)
- Do not bother them because they are on the land I’ve given them.
- If you need anything…pay them for it.
And then the most beautiful of verses smacked me in the face:
“For the LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the LORD your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”
Even though God had allowed them to experience the consequences of their faithlessness, He had not left them.
God blessed them even though they were wandering in the wilderness because of their sin.
He watched over their every step.
He took care of them so they lacked nothing.
Despite their sin.
Despite their stubbornness.
Despite the fact that their willfulness and disobedience got them into the wilderness in the first place, God did not abandon them.
Even then, God was watching where their feet stepped. He was supplying their every need supernaturally from food to clothing and everything in between. He stayed with them even when they deserved abandonment.
What a merciful and gracious God!
Oh, Lord, that I might be merciful simply because you have shown me mercy.
Oh, Lord, that I might be gracious simply because you have extended me grace.
Father, forgive me when I have been…
Forgive me when I have trusted my own intel instead of Your word.
Thank you for never leaving me despite these things.