Has your mind ever gotten stuck, so stubbornly stuck on a matter that you can’t seem to shake it off?
I’ve been “stuck” in the wilderness with the Israelites lately, hanging out in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy primarily. Days and days of research, of diving deeper, of asking questions. And finally, something jumped out at me. The Israelites couldn’t claim their promised land until first they had let a faithless, grumbling generation die off (Numbers 14) and, secondly, had conquered, one by one, the nations occupying their land (Deuteronomy 7). (As a self-proclaimed nerd, I found this fascinating!) But what does that mean for me? For us?
We like to use the “wilderness” and the “promised land” as symbols of life, and so we should. The Word of God isn’t merely a historical narrative. It’s a letter from God’s heart to ours. And the “promised land” isn’t heaven, by the way. Heaven will have no idolatrous nations to conquer, as the promised land did. Our “promised land” is quite simply the abundant life Jesus came to give us, in the here and now.
But most of us tend to feel like we’re wandering in a wilderness rather than living in our abundant life. So, what to do??
Well, God’s original plan would’ve put the nation of Israel into their promised land in less than a year and a half after leaving Egypt. Depending on Him to guide them and provide for their needs…Listening to His Word given at Sinai…Witnessing many signs and miracles along the way to affirm their faith. Yet with all that, when they faced the promised land and saw all that would have to be conquered, the giants in the land, most people let fear enter in.
They grumbled and complained. They voiced their distrust in God. They openly rebelled. They lost faith.
And they were sent back to the wilderness for a total of 40 years altogether. They were sent to the wilderness so that the faithless generation could die off. And the new generation wouldn’t be allowed to enter the promised land until all that rebellion, distrust, grumbling, rebellion and faithlessness had died.
Is there anything in you that’s been keeping you wandering in the wilderness that just needs to die off?
For me, I need to let grumbling die off. I also need to let my personal expectations die. Others and circumstances around me are beyond my control and my expectations merely put them in a box in which they’ll never stay.
If Jesus came to give me abundant life, right here, right now, my complaining and my controlling expectations will only keep me from entering into that abundance. How can I have abundance if all I see around me is negativity? How can I live in abundance if I live ungratefully?
So, what about you? I didn’t realize my expectations were a problem until I asked God and He told me. Take some time with Him today and hear what He has to say about the wilderness you may currently be in and the promised land He has ready for you.