Wilderness Wanderers

Over and over again it was repeated. Different circumstances. Different outcomes. But the pattern was evident as the Israelites and Moses wandered in the wilderness together. And, it still is today.

The Israelites had been held captive for far too long when God tapped the shoulder of Moses, the most unwilling leader imaginable. It was a divine calling, but Moses was sure God had the wrong man for the job. Not me, he must have said to himself. Actually, he said something similar to God, but to no avail. God persisted. Moses resisted, but finally realized his refusal wasn’t going to be the final answer.

God wins!

God always wins, so it’s best to accept our calling no matter how unreasonable it seems.

Convincing Pharoah to let the Israelites go took a plethora of plagues but God won there, too. He provided a few minor miracles and the Israelites basically walked away from Egypt – it was far easier than Moses imagined.

However, soon the Egyptians regretted pardoning their cheap labor force, so an army of men, horses, and chariots were in hot pursuit. The Red Sea was in sight and the Israelites were celebrating their fresh freedom. Fear gripped their souls as they remembered the atrocities of their captivity, and they wanted no part of returning.

Life Gets Sucky!

That’s where the pattern begins, in the midst of chaos, confusion, and conflict, when life gets sucky!

Their freedom was in jeopardy and they panicked, whined, and trash-talked their leader. Moses hadn’t wanted the job in the first place so their negativity must’ve exasperated this timid leader. The people were crabby, and the frazzled Moses was inundated with a rowdy bunch of followers.

Life got sucky, people got crabby, and Moses got stressed. He knew his own limitations, but he also knew God, so he cried out to Him. Moses prayed. And that’s where the pattern continues.

God spoke. Moses obeyed. The people doubted. But a miracle was provided.

The Red Sea parted giving the Israelites an escape route – dry land in the middle of a sea – before the crushing waters returned to swallow up the Egyptians. They were miraculously annihilated!  

Life is Good!

The Israelites celebrated. Life was good again – until the next time.

The same pattern is seen as the Israelites continue wandering toward the Promised Land. Their supply of water runs out. Now what?  

Life gets sucky and people get crabby. Stress happens, and Moses cries out to God. God speaks, Moses does as he’s told – though he’s surrounded by doubting followers – and God provides. The miracle this time is bitter water made sweet just in time for a thirsty crowd. And life is good.

But then they get hungry and the crabby crowd complains again to a weary leader. Moses turns to God for help, which comes as manna from Heaven.

They should know God will take care of them, right? Exodus 16:35 says God provided manna for forty years. Forty years! Slow learners, these people. Later, in chapter 17, God suggests they keep a jar of the manna, or at least record what happened, so future generations will know that He is faithful; that He provides.

He knows us well…

And, sure enough, the next time life gets tough the Israelites get grumpy and Moses is back in the hot seat. They were thirsty again.

Moses prayed. God spoke. Moses obeyed. And God provided.

Voila! Water for a thirsty band of wanderers after Moses simply strikes a rock with his staff. And, life is good.

God has proven Himself faithful once again, yet even today when His people are inundated by chaos, confusion, and conflict, we forget.

Stress reigns. Like the Israelites, we grumble and complain to whomever will listen. We doubt His ability to resolve our situation, while in reality, our miracle may be only a prayer away.

Wisdom from Corrie ten Boom

Father, forgive me!

Father, forgive me, Your forgetful follower. Squelch my crabbiness. Calm my stress. Teach me to cry out to You instead of those around me. Prompt me to pray. Remind me of Your faithfulness. Speak and I will listen, for I know You have plans for me and I trust You to provide what I need, when I need it. Amen.

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