Rescued to the Wilderness

4They left Mt. Hor by way of the Red Sea so as to go around the land of Edom.  The people got discouraged because of the route.  5And the people spoke against God and against Moses.  They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to die in the desert.  There’s no food and there’s no water!  We’re completely tired of this lousy bread.  — Numbers 21:4-5

[This is Henry.]

Did you ever ask you parents for help with your homework when you were younger?  How did it go?  My parents were both teachers part of their careers.  What I wanted in terms of help was the answer.  What they would provide was some suggestions on how to find the answer.  It seemed like such a long way around when I knew that they knew precisely what the answer was.

The Israelites may have felt that way as well.  They wanted to get out of slavery.  Now their idea of the way that should go was that God would take care of the Egyptians and then clear a path for them to wander casually into the land of Canaan and take possession.

It must have been a bit disappointing.  If God had promised it, and God was going to give it, just what was all this running around the desert all about.

So they get to the point of complaining.  “God, why did you bring us out of Egypt?  We may have had to work day and night, we may have been beaten from time to time, but we had enough to eat and a reasonable life expectancy.  Here we might die any time, and it’s not a pleasant death.”

What about Jesus?  He is baptized and then driven out into the desert.  “Jesus!  You’re my Son.  I’m pleased with you.  Now go starve for 40 days and let the devil try to beat you up.”

“Thanks Lord!”

Does your life ever feel like that?  Do you ask God to get you out of the frying pan only to see the fire all around you?

I have good news and bad news:  We are interested in comfort, but God is interested in character.

Just like the Israelites as they left Egypt, each one of us has a lot to learn and a lot of character to develop.

We have a simple choice.  Will we remember why we wanted to get out of Egypt, or will we find the discomfort of character development just too hard to take?  Will we ask to go back?

The promised land is for those who keep going forward.

37“Yet in a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay. 38But my righteous one will live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,  my soul will have no pleasure in him.” [Habakkuk 2:3,4] 39But we are not of timidity leading to destruction, but of faith, leading to obtaining life.  — Hebrews 10:37-39

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