I found this startling. I wonder if the children of Israel had any idea that the promised land was so closely within their grasp. I think that if they did, they would have stopped complaining, accepted what the Lord had given them, and moved forward with faith. The Lord provided so many miracles for them, yet time and time again, they complained that it was not enough, or that the Lord did not provide for them exactly what they wanted when they wanted it, in the way they wanted it. Take their food for instance. The Lord provided manna from heaven for them to eat. They did not have to work for it, he fed them freely every day, except for Sundays, for forty years. The children of Israel, however, complained. They did not like the taste of it, they lusted for meat instead of manna, and they were upset that it did not fall on Sunday. Every time God gave them a commandment, or asked them to do something, they fought him on it or complained. If they had just let go and let God lead them, they would have made it to the promised land in the eleven days and they would have saved themselves a lot of trials. They turned an eleven day trip into a forty year journey because of how they chose to react.
I think that more often than we realize, we are much like the children of Israel. I know that Sean and I have been much like them. We have been wanting to be full-time writers for 13 years now. All it took was us making tithing a priority and putting God first. We turned a short trip into a 13 year journey because of our inability to follow a simple commandment. You see, God is willing to grant us the promised land if we just do what he asks.
I have also learned that not only is God willing to grant us the promised land, but he continually provides for us until we get there despite our disobedience. He just wants us to acknowledge him and all the miracles he is already providing on our behalf. Take the children of Israel for example. Not only did God feed them daily for forty years, but He clothed them by not allow their clothing to wear out, nor did he allow their feet to swell as they walked. He provided water from a rock and healed them if they but looked upon a staff. He was continually providing miracles for them but they were so self-centered that rather than thanking him for those blessings, they constantly murmured that they were not enough.
So here is today's advice:
- Count your blessings so you will realize what you have.
- Be grateful for what you have. God has given you more than you know.
- Evaluate your life and see if you are making an 11 day journey last 40 years.
- Try to learn the lessons God's trying to teach you so you don't have to keep wandering in the wilderness. The promised land is closer than you know.
I love reading the scriptures and applying them to my life so that I don't have to keep repeating their mistakes. That's what they were given to us for. We don't have to make the same mistakes as the children of Israel because we can read about them, see their mistakes and make better choices than they did. I am so glad for an inspired counselor who helped me understand this simple story of the children of Israel because for me, it has changed the way I look at things. It's amazing how one simple thought can make all the difference. I hope it makes a difference for you, too. :)