Following up on yesterday’s post, sometimes we need reminders to remember. Yesterday we explored a little history as the Hebrew people were rescued from their bondage in Egypt by the mighty and outstretched hand of God. God had moved mightily on their behalf. He not only rescued them from their enslavement, but He also delivered them from their enemy as the Egyptians and Pharaoh pursued them in their escape. God parted the sea, His people escaped on dry ground and the sea swallowed up their enemy before they were able to catch up with God’s people! Things were looking up but one thing is sure. In this world we will have difficulties, trials and testing. The next forty years were just that for the Hebrew people. They would wander in the wilderness for 40 years to reach the Promised Land which by direct route was only an eleven day journey.
So, why the extended travel time for such a short trip? I will let you read the story or travel notes yourself. I suspect from reading the stories and from putting together sermons I have heard, studies I have done, that the people were not so different from you or me. God has a purpose and plan for all of us and it is usually far better than anything we can even imagine. However, just like a baby is ill-equipped at birth to become an adult right away, we as believers are also not ready to immediately step into all God has planned for us. As you are probably aware, there was an attempt at entering the promised land before the 40 year mark. Ten spies were sent in to scope out the land. They went in, explored, and even brought back produce from the land. The Promised Land was confirmed to be a beautiful land flowing with milk and honey, yet despite what they found eight of the ten spies had a negative report. Only Joshua and Caleb came back with the attitude that we are well able to take the land. They were the only of the spies that were certain that with God’s promise and outstretched arm and mighty hand this could be done. The opinion of the eight won out and the wandering continued. By the end of forty years most of those who had doubted and forgotten what God had already had done for them had died. Many could not see past their doubts and remember how God had delivered them. Many could not remember that God had provided food for their hunger, water for their thirst, that He prevented their clothing and shoes from wearing out during those years.
At last, in the book of Joshua we can read the account of Israel finally going into the Promised Land. They are told that God is among them and He will dispossess the inhabitants of the land. The priest will go first and enter the Jordan River, the waters will be cut off and held back despite it being at flood stage. The priests carrying the ark stood firmly on dry ground as the entire nation crossed. Once the people were across, Joshua sent twelve men, one from each tribe back to remove twelve stones to set up where they would camp that night as a memorial to what God had done. Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan and placed them where the priests were standing as a memorial. Once this was accomplished the priests finished crossing and when they stepped out of the Jordan River, it resumed its course. That night they camped at Gilgal and set up the other twelve stones as a reminder to remember and to tell their children what they had experienced, what God had done for them and to teach them about the Lord’s mighty hand so they would reverence their God.
Just as Israel need to be reminded to remember, we also need to remember. When distractions and trials come into our life, when difficulty is here and it is hard to see past the immediate demands of our circumstances, we need to remember, turn to God remembering all He has seen us through. We need to remember His great love and His faithfulness and believe beyond human reason that He will once again act on our behalf and see us through whatever is the current circumstance or difficulty we face. In order to do this, we must know what the Word says; we must have some grasp of His Word and His promises; and above all we must exercise our faith. The more we exercise faith the more faith grows in our life.