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Prone To Wander

Let's just face the fact, as Christians, we are prone to wander. We know the ways of the Lord because we have been taught them and have the Bible as a resource in front of us but we like to do things in our own way. We are often too prideful to ask for help or to turn to someone else for help let alone turn to God to direct our path. This is exactly where we find the Israelites after Moses had saved them from their slavery in Egpyt. Through the power of God, Moses had led the people out of their captivity and into a better life but the Israelites were having a hard time seeing what God had in store for them.

The story of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness resonated with me. I feel like I can understand their struggle. It is the struggle of knowing there is something better out there but not being able to get there. It is the story of loving God but still having questions. I believe that we have a lot in common with the Israelites as they were wandering in the wilderness. Even though they had experienced God’s saving powers first hand when He parted the Red Sea at the first site of trouble they began to question Him again.

Just as a recap let’s pick up with the Israelites where we left them after last week’s post (God's Big Plan). After leaving the confines of slavery in Egypt you would think that it would have all been smooth sailing. You would think the people of God would have been rejoicing and followed Moses’ lead wherever he went because of all God had done for them but that is not the case. After walking around in circles in the hot desert many of the Israelites began to complain about the conditions. They were hungry and thirsty and this led them to question God’s plan, they question why God even brought them out of Egypt. Exodus 16:3 says, “The Israelites said to them, 'If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.' " God had just saved them from certain death and placed them on the path to a better life but the Israelites could not see their future over their current condition. God is a gracious Father, and He heard their complaints and responded. Exodus 16:4 says, “Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.” God provided what they needed to sustain them, but only enough for that day so they had to trust him daily for their food. God’s provisions were good but for the People of God it only pleased with it for a short time and then they went back to complaining and questioning God. This pattern continued in the Israelites and even continues with us to this day. Take a moment and think... When things are going well we praise God and give Him the glory but the moment we are faced with struggles we turn on Him and began to questions His goodness.

We can learn so much from the Israelites time in the wilderness because we are in our own wilderness. We were in slavery to sin but when we accept God as our savior He performed a miracle and walks us out of that slavery. He led us into the wilderness not to suffer but to grow in our faith and trust in Him until the day comes when we can enter the promised land (heaven). Like the Israelites, our time in the wilderness is filled with many heartaches, trials, which are followed by complaining and questioning God. Sometimes we even want to turn back and going back into a life of slavery to sin because at least we know what to expect. Just remember that God did not send His only son to die for our sins so that we could indulge in the pleasures of this world and live in comfort. Jesus came to set us free and to make a new way for us even if that path leads us through the wilderness and into the valley of the shadow for a time. We have a wonderful savior when understands our struggles. He understands all of our struggles because He faced them and was even tempted in the wilderness but remained sinless.

So as you walk in your wilderness, I encourage you to keep pushing forward and know that God has a plan for the pain and struggles you are currently facing. It is not about our current condition but the journey to the final product. Take heart and know that God has a plan much bigger than our pain and struggles.

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