Is this the United States, or the wilderness?
I must confess I have said a few times this week, “This doesn’t even feel like the United States.” As schools and jobs move online, malls close, and grocery stores empty, life is surreal.
Feels a bit like wandering in a wilderness.
There aren’t many people who would pick living in the wilderness over living in a thriving civilization, but living in the wilderness comes with some precious advantages that we can try to capitalize on while life is unique in our country right now. The Israelites wandered for 40 years and saw well-publicized miracles like the parting of the Red Sea, but the Israelites saw miracles daily, as well. I would argue they lived a miracle.
They experienced God’s provision.
Every morning when the Israelites opened their tent flap, manna for the day was on the ground, sent by God Himself during the night. Every person had all they needed for each day. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat. (Exodus 16:15)
They experienced God’s preservation.
For forty years, their clothes did not wear out, and neither did their shoes. Sure, they wore the same outfits, but their clothing remained like new every morning. Yet the LORD says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. (Deuteronomy 29:5)
They experienced God’s presence.
Exodus is filled with verses about God guiding the Israelites as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. This week I was reading in my chronological Bible about how God guided the Israelites in the wilderness after the Tabernacle was built.
I wrote in the margin, “This is how I want to live!”
So at last, Moses finished the work [of setting up the tabernacle]. Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle. (Exodus 40:33-34)
Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it.
And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. (Numbers 9:15-23)….
Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on.
But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on.
So they camped or traveled at the LORD’s command, and they did whatever the LORD told them through Moses. (Numbers 9:22-23)
We have an opportunity to seize more of this way of life. Dare we?
Though unprecedented trouble as arrived in our country this week, we also have an opportunity to live a life more dependent on God.
1. We are going to get closer to understanding what it is like to wake up in the morning understanding that God needs to provide our food today.
2. With stores closed and shopping hindered, we get to practice being content with what we have and living more for things that don’t wear out or decay.
3. With life at a slower pace, we are less able to rush ahead of God to chase our dreams or work our plans. We get to practice what it’s like not to move until God tells us to do so.
Civilization has its benefits, and we will miss many parts of it for right now, but living without convenience provides an opportunity to live a life dependent on God and witness the miracle. No amount of money or comfort is worth robbing ourselves of such things.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34)
Picture Explanation: As the grocery store shelves emptied, a neighbor brought me flowers she picked in her backyard, my son had time to assemble a Lego set after his school online was finished, and our Irish meal took place as always on St. Patrick’s Day, though with only three O’Connors.
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