Recently, I was counseling a young person who was having difficulties in their life. After only a few minutes, it was clear that their problems were the result of their own choices and actions. My response to their situation was to turn to Numbers 20:1-5 and read it with them:
In the first month, the entire community of Bnei-Yisrael arrived at the wilderness of Zin. The people stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. Now there was no water for the community, so they assembled against Moses and Aaron. The people quarreled with Moses saying, "If only we had died when our brothers died before Adonai! 4 Now why have you brought the community of Adonai into this wilderness, for us and our livestock to die here? Why have you brought us from Egypt to bring us to this evil place—a place without grain, fig, grapevine or pomegranate—and there's no water to drink!" (Num. 20:1-5, TLV).
To understand this text, we first have to look at the context of what has just happened to the children of Israel. They were redeemed from Egypt by G-D's miraculous power through the 10 plagues and then the parting of the Red Sea. They traveled to Mount Sinai and experienced the thunderous voice of G-D from the mountain. They arrived at the border of the promised land and sent the 12 spies into the land, who came back and reported that the land was exactly as wonderful as G-D had promised it would be: A place of milk and honey full of grain, fig, grapevine or pomegranate—and water to drink! Yet the children of Israel, because of fear and unbelief, chose not to enter the land. So when we come to Numbers 2 and the people are complaining because there now in a place "without grain, fig, grapevine or pomegranate—and there's no water to drink!"
How many of us, like the children of Israel and the young person I was speaking with, have made choices that were contrary to G-D's Word and promises and ended up in "the wilderness,' only to complain about how G-D allowed these things to come upon us?
G-D's word is clear about His desire for us to be blessed and prosper as our souls prosper. So if you are looking around today and find yourself in a wilderness without the blessings of G-D, take a moment to search and see if you have rejected the promised land, then repent and go back to the border—and this time, enter in!
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians, and Galations in Context.
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