Today we read about how the Israelites wandered. If we wondered in our last reading how an 11-day trip could take 40 years, we see a bit of our answer in this passage. Have you ever gotten lost before when you were on a trip? How many miles did you drive out of your way before you realized your error? Sometimes we need to correct our direction in life, too.
I often heard the Bible referred to as our GPS. If you’re challenged with directions, you use a GPS to find your way. What I like about a GPS or mapping system is it often tells you the best route to take. You can decide between the fastest or shortest. The app I use even detects roadblocks and construction zones and gives me the option to reroute my course. And one of my favorite features is that when I do take a wrong turn, the app will tell me and figure out a way for me to get back on course.
So, if the Bible is like a GPS, can we find all of those directions for life, too? Can we finally walk with assurance that we are going the right direction? Will we get a message when we step off course or be warned of challenges ahead? The Bible’s wisdom gives us many clues for right living, how to pray, and examples of how listening to God can change the course of our life. It’s our job then to read it. We need to keep the lines of communication open with God to confirm we are on course, and the Bible is one of the best ways we can stay connected.
In our reading today, the Moses had a direct line of communication with God. God was giving a clear message to his people about which way to go, who to avoid and why. God had his reasons for the 40-year trek. Was it to teach the people something? Was it to test their faithfulness? Suffice it to say we are not necessarily going to get the “why” questions answered. I remember hearing as a child, and probably also said it myself, “Because I’m the parent, that’s why.” Children can be inquisitive, just like us. Think about that one. What have you been asking God to explain?
We may feel like we are lost in the wilderness at times. In those times of uncertainty, doubt, and fear, we should take to heart the words Moses shared with his people. They are a good reminder to us, too. “For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness.” When we are obedient to God, when we listen for him to direct our paths, we can be confident that he is ready to show us right from wrong. We can see his counsel in his Word. We don’t have to stay lost. If we ask him, God will give us the corrections to our path we need.
God will make a way for you when you don’t think there’s a way. Look what he did for the descendants of Esau, the Edomites. You will recall Esau was the brother of Jacob. The Moabites, descendants of Lot, Abraham’s cousin, also had the hand of God protecting them. God promised them safety as “relatives” of his chosen people. God’s message of instruction through Moses was clear. Leave those people alone. But when God said, move, you move!
Don’t you wish we could hear the voice of God so clearly? Pray to hear. Then listen. Don’t give up. God intends good for his people. God intends for us, in our weakness, to rely on him. When we are strong in the Lord, people will see us as a force to be reckoned with, these words could be true for us, too. “When they hear reports about you, they will tremble with dread and fear.” When God is with us, we are unstoppable and will never be lost again.
Let’s pray… Lord, I ask for your refreshment today. I want to make sure I’m not just wandering around in this wilderness. I want my steps to have purpose. I want to be someone people look to for encouragement and help. May I be bold in my faith and sure in my steps. I want to walk in your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.