Saturday, March 19, 2016

God Says You’re Traveling Alone For Now



Exodus 33:1-3: Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants, I will give it’: “And I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite – to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, lest I destroy you on the way.”
The Israelites were given instructions to move camp and head towards Canaan to the land that God reminds Moses He had sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  We are reminded again that He promised it to their “descendants” and not specifically even these generations. God was basically implying, “Look, I’ll keep My promise even though these people have sinned again me.”
Here’s the good news. God promises that He will send an angel before them for their physical protection.  He promised them that they will have no problems with those they meet on the way or in the land of Canaan and names all the various tribes He will drive out to facilitate their travels. The Israelites as a whole (but perhaps not individually) are guaranteed safe passage to the land of milk and honey.
Now here’s the bad news. God tells them that He will not go with them as before when in Exodus 13:21 we read, “The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.” Now, I believe this was a really big deal for the Israelites. They had always counted on God’s accompaniment. Now they have to go it alone. Perhaps the best way to relay this feeling is to think of a young child who has been disobedient and their parents say, “Sorry, you’ve blown it. Now you have to do it alone.” We’ll see how the Children of Israel react in the next section of the chapter. Right now, we note God’s rationale for His decision.
In the last part of this text, God tells His People that He won’t go up with them to Canaan – He won’t be in their midst. First of all, we need to consider how much that decision hurt or caused sorrow to God Himself. I remember when our young children had defiantly disobeyed one of their parents and I had to spank them (yes, that was okay in my days and, in my books, still is). I would always end up saying, “Now this is going to hurt me more than it does you.” And I’d end up with just as many tears in my eyes. I’m sure God felt somewhat like that when He was sharing this news.
And His reason for taking such action is that they are an “obstinate” people. Try looking up some synonyms for that word. You get stubborn, pigheaded, inflexible, adamant, unmoved, persistent, and tenacious among other possible substitutes. Can you imagine feeling that way about your own children? God was so angry with them that He realized if He joined them on their journey, He may have come to the point of destroying them along the way.
We do not very often think of this but this passage indicates that God knows Himself well. It’s almost as if God has to fight His own emotions at times in order to stick with His promises. He withdraws temporarily to save His children and get them to their destination.
It hit me as I studied this that God also remains silent and at the sidelines of our lives today when we too are obstinate in one fashion or another. He certainly holds back His anger from us and He remains patient with us because He loves us to no end.
In this world of ours today, it is very difficult for many to imagine what I call a “real relationship with the one and only real God”.  And yet, for those of us who are believers, that’s exactly what you and I have – a “real” relationship with the “real” GOD. And it’s a love relationship – certainly on His part.  But that’s all the more reason why we can’t just keep on being obstinate – being lukewarm, being apathetic towards Him. We have a choice – call it quits or see it as the greatest investment for our eternity. My prayer is that you and I will find ourselves on the same side of the line having chosen to love Him back dearly.

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20  which you can purchase right from there.  Finally, check us out at Accord Consulting.  And while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.  Ken.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous20/3/16 03:40

    It makes me think of that comment: "What would Jesus do?"
    We travel through our spiritual life with all kinds of people. We expect little from non-saved individuals, a lot more from Christians, because they have an understanding of what God wants, but even more from church leaders, teachers and pastors.
    After having been disappointed and badly hurt several times by leaders and pastors, it is refreshing to learn from this teacher there is no hidden agenda or personal gain here. Your teaching is always heartfelt.
    Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind comment. It is always encouraging to a writer to know that God is using what he/she writes to help others. And remember, we keep looking up towards our Lord for our model, not across to our leaders unless it is to encourage them as well. Have a blessed Easter. Ken

      Delete