Thursday, August 14, 2008

Paying Attention in the Wilderness

If I am being honest the past few weeks have been an emotionally exhausting time. This period has been filled with highs and lows and all of the in betweens. Just when I think I am finally getting it, I am plunged back down into the depths of my grief and I struggle to keep my head above water.

As I search God's word for the hope and grace to get me through another day I am continually reminded of the Israelite's journey to the Promised land. Until just this year I had no idea that a trip that could have taken nine or ten days, even then, took them forty years.

Isn't that crazy? If you look at a map the journey the Israelites took vs the most direct route will make your head spin. It seems absolutely ludicrous. As I have done some more thinking about what it must have been like for Moses and the Israelites, I feel I am gaining a better grasp on what God is doing in and through this broken world.

Prior to the Exodus (the Israelite's flee from Egypt) the Israelite people were enslaved. They did not know freedom. While in Egypt they married people with different beliefs and in turn many adopted other beliefs or adapted the beliefs they held to adapt to their current lifestyle. By the time Moses led them out of Egypt very little of their original belief system still existed.

As I try to imagine what that may have been like it seems like maybe some of that is happening today. I wonder if this lifetime in a broken world, filled with suffering, isn't our journey through the wilderness to refine us for our arrival in the "Promised Land". We as a society seem to be doing much of the same. We are compromising our beliefs and allowing a gray area where there should be plain black and white. We adapt to culture and pick and choose what we believe about God and quite simply that just isn't how it works.

He led the Israelites on a tough 40 year trek through the wilderness to lead them into places where they were completely cut of from the world, where they had no choice but to seek God and re-learn their core belief system. God waited for an entire generation to die off before leading His people into the Promised Land. Their survival was completely dependent on their faith and those who failed the faith test perished.

When they first left Egypt I wonder what was going through their minds. They did not know freedom, so I imagine they drank it in fully, perhaps so fully that they became drunk. Drunk on freedom. Now free to do as they pleased, to be their own boss. No one to tell them what to do. That is until they began to whine that they had no food and no water. God brought them to a point where they were starving and parched and then they had come to the end of themselves and had no choice but to turn to Him or die.

God provided as he always does. He gave water a plenty and manna from Heaven, but at this point he re-taught the Israelites what it meant to have faith. He set up rule for how they could go about getting their manna. Never allowing them to save up so they would ALWAYS have to rely on Him.

After that you would think that the Israelites would have learned quickly that God was so worthy of their obedience and worship, but they continually screwed up, much like us and God continually forgave, but continued leading them through the wilderness until they were ready for the Promised Land.

I guess my point in all of this is that my prayer is that it doesn't take me forty years to get the point. I will spend whatever time in the wilderness that my Father sees fit, but man I have my eyes open and my ear listening toward Heaven because I do not want to wander around for the next forty years missing the point!

8 comments:

Stacy said...

Kristy-

Thank you so much for this post...your thoughts and perspective on the Israelites and the comparison to modern day "wanderings" is awesome. Amen to the black and white! There is way too much gray in this world today.

May we all, "Love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to HIM, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." Deut. 30:20

May God strengthen you each and every day. The waters will not overtake you! I'll be praying for you.

In Christ's love-Stacy

The Whalen Family said...

I couldn't agree with you more!

Devin said...

That post was right on the money Kristy. When I think about how we live in such a grey area'ed (yes, I just verbed that) society, I am even that more committed to homeschooling my children! I know your post was not necessarily about that subject, but that is just what God brought to me as I was reading it. Children need to be taught black from white, right from wrong, what is sin and what is obedience, and they are certainly not going to get that training from the world!

Thank you, Jesus, for being wiling to teach us, even in the darkness of the wilderness--please shine Your light in that darkness so we don't miss the lessons you have for us!!

Lauren said...

Wow! That is such an awesome way to look at that story!

Tamara said...

Hey there have not been by in awhile, I love the new look of your site! This post is great and I fully agree that I will be in the wilderness for as long as my Lord sees fit, but is is my strong prayer that I too keep my eyes OPEN and ears ALEART all the time so I don't miss whatever it is that He wants to show me! Thanks for this wonderful reminder and encouragement! Tam

Melissa Dovel said...

Wow!! What an awesome mini sermon:) I agree with you and it makes perfect sense that thats the same road a lot of us travel. We feel so much freedom living in the US that we fight with having to cling to Him. Love it girl. God is using you and I pray that you continue to allow Him to speak through you.

Blessings
Melissa

partyofseven said...

I totally agree. :)

Alyssa said...

praying for you in your wilderness wanderings season...bless you friend.