Read Numbers 10
I wonder how long the children of Israel thought it might take, their walk to freedom. I would bet they didn’t figure it would take this long. They’d been camped at Sinai for eleven months. The place God had handed them His citizens’ rule for living as His children.
Now, two months into their second year of wilderness living, God said it was time to move towards Canaan. I wonder if they figured their wilderness living was over. Did they think tomorrow, or the next day, they’d be living large in the land they were promised? Did they feel entitled? As if they’d been owed this move all along. Like they shouldn’t have had to wait so long to get this show on the road.
The LORD led them to a new place. “(A)nd the people of Israel set out . . . And the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran” (v. 12). Almighty God’s presence led His people from wilderness to wilderness.
I think of the times I have felt stuck in a wilderness. None of the lush grass or the sweet produce He promised for my abundant life. Just cactus and gravel-like dirt. How many times have I been in a wilderness figuring this must not be where He wants me? I’ve thought Certainly the good and gracious God would not have led me to this place. He only wants what’s good for me. And wilderness living can not be it.
But He has led me there more times than I’ve realized. Right smack into the middle of a desert where water is scarce and I have to rely moment by moment on the One who promised His kind of living is always better.
God had led His people out of bondage and slavery. No more chains or oppression from the Egyptians. He had led them to the place where He was the One leading the way. The place where they had to rely on His Word, His call, His way for every single next step. He had gotten them to the place where His presence meant more to them than moving on from the desert of Sinai.
Always, God was, and is, working and providing and leading in His perfect way. Even in the wilderness.