Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Journey I Don't Expect (church bulletin cover)

It’s become popular to say that the journey is as important as the destination. Maybe somebody should’ve told that to the Israelites in the wilderness. Yet whatever the Israelites might have thought about God’s route for them to the Promised Land, there’s a phrase repeated throughout their story that is worth remembering: “just as the Lord commanded Moses.” Then as the people of Israel neared the end of their long journey, it is summed up as “their journeys by the command of the Lord (Numbers 33:2).

I’d sure like that to be the way my life can be described – a journey by the command of the Lord. I want to be led by God, to walk according to His Word, to follow His initiative. Yet I can see that the Israelites’ “journey by the command of the Lord didn’t always look like what I might expect a journey directed by a wise and loving God to look like. The command of the Lord led His people to places that appeared to have no water and where it looked like He’d abandoned them (Num. 33:14), to places that appeared threatening through a person’s natural eyes (Num. 32:7-8), and to places where warfare was necessary to pass through. In fact, the journey by the command of the Lord began with the feeling that they were trapped between a murderous army and the Red Sea!

The point is that God’s commands do not just lead us into sunshine and meadows. He leads us in ways that teach us dependence, that test us in areas of obedience, that discipline us for unbelief, that strengthen our arms for fighting the good fight, and most importantly, that show us His glory! Will I stay the course and continue to do “just as the Lord commands” me when God’s leading takes me into hard places? I must, because any other route on my journey in this life would be for my own self-interest rather than for God’s glory being displayed as I put my hope and trust in Him.

© 2008 by Ken Peters


Anonymous said...

That's a good insight into the passage, ken.
Perhaps it will evolve into a sermon?! Let me know and I'll come to hear it!

Ken said...

Perhaps it will. It's certainly been our testimony, and I'm afraid I've probably grumbled at least as much as the Israelites did! But I'm growing through it all. Thanks for your feedback!