Happy New Year! Hard to believe it is the year 2020!
Deuteronomy 1:2-3 It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them…
Moses just had to be tired when he wrote the above passage. Think about the above words. The journey for the Israelites to get from Mount Sinai (Horeb) to the land of Canaan was 11 days. That 11 day trip took 40 years. Can’t you see Moses as he wrote this? Just slapping his forehead with his hand. 40 years!!!! It should have taken 11 days!!!
We can all think of things that took longer than they should have. That song that could have been over in a minute and a half, but they repeated the chorus a gazillion times. Or it was that story that someone was telling you that could have taken a few sentences, but you got the exhaustive version. That person probably said, “To make a long story short” several times while telling the long story. Maybe it was an explanation of how to do something that could have taken thirty seconds…but on and on and on it went. We could have done the job ten times over by the time it took them to explain how to do it. Or how about the sermon that could have taken 15 minutes, but felt like it lasted 40 years?
But why did this journey from Egypt to the Promised Land take so long? Because the people flat out rejected God and did not believe Him. They rebelled against Him and did not trust His promises. With everything they had seen of God, all of the miracles, all of the love, all of the power, all of the deliverance, they simply chose to follow themselves instead of God. They in every way were ungrateful and stubborn. So, God said they would not enter His rest (see Numbers 14).
They were right at the edge of the Promised Land, and God said, “Okay, everybody out of the pool.” You can hear the beeping of the Israelite moving van as it backed up and turned to go back into the wilderness for a long 40 year spin around the same desolate ground.
Let’s reflect upon this concept together as we begin the New Year. How many 11 day journeys have we started in life with God that sadly turned into 40 year endless circles around the same ground? How many of our relationship problems are 11 day problems that we have allowed to turn into 40 year problems? Is our faith and attitude like the Israelites? God is trying to bless us richly and take us into the Promised Land, but we choose the 40 year whirl in the wilderness?
Think about it this way…do some simple math. 40 years times 365 days is 14,600 days! 11 days or 14,600 days. Do we want to be circling around in the hot desolate wilderness for 11 days or 14,600 days? Here’s another simple math problem, take 14,600 days and divide it by 11 days. What you will find is that the Israelites’ journey took 1,327 times longer than it should have!
Why suffer going around the same mountain when we can face our attitude and relationship issues head on and move on to the Promised Land? Here’s the simple fact that you and I need to understand: God will let us stay in the wilderness. If that’s where we want to stay and die, then that’s our choice. He will allow us to keep circling the same mountain of problems until we deal with our own issues and stop blaming others. It’s our choice. 11 days or 40 years.