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"The Journey" 3/28/23

Dear Church,


Numbers chapter 33 records all the places the Israelites camped in the wilderness on their way to the promised land.


The long list of names like "Duphkah," "Alush," "Rephidim," "Sinai," and Kibroth-hattavah" (See Numbers 33:12-16) is one of those Scriptures we tend to gloss over. It is easy to think "that's interesting" and move on to something that seems more applicable to our lives. But we miss something, when we gloss over the repetitive lists of names and places in the Bible. These places are real places attached to real events and real people whom God had redeemed out of Egypt. They were on a journey, like the people of God today. A journey marked by failures and victories: Israel's sin and God's grace, Israel's discontentment and God's discipline, Israel's unbelief and God's faithfulness.


God tells us what happened at some of these stops like the stop at Sinai and the stop at Rephidim. But there are other stops on the way where we don't know what happened. Did the people grumble at Alush or give thanks? Did they trust him or was bitterness beginning to take root in their hearts? We don't know about all the stops on their journey. But nonetheless each stop along the way, is a reminder of the Lord's patience and provision for a people who did not deserve the kindness shown to them. Does this sound like a familiar story? Can you see the pattern of your life in the examples of Scripture?


Paul wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

"For what was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptureswe might have hope" Romans 15:4

And

"Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we should not crave evil things as they also craved." 1 Corinthians 10:6


The Scriptures, even down to the place names we know little about, are examples to us: warnings and reminders that instruct us giving us hope and yes often telling us "Don't go down that road, don't go that way... Grumbling and Coveting is a bad idea."


Where are you on your journey? Are you responding with faith, gratitude, and obedience to God?


One more thing.

Notice, immediately after this list, we read God's instructions to Israel for the next stage of Israel's journey, the conquest of Canaan (Numbers 33:50-56). On the heels of being reminded of their failures and God's mercies, God calls his people to trust Him and obey His commands. As you recall your past and the Lord's work in your life, keep in mind what God is calling you to do THIS DAY. Reflection is only useful if we put into practice what we learn from the past. Each stop on the way is another reminder to love and obey God in the present, for He is good and faithful.


In Christ's Service,


Matt

Matthew Deneault Pastor at Christ Community Fellowship "Making Christ known in our Community"

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