Dan Stillings sang a special song Sunday morning before Pastor Bob Sorensen brought a message on, “Seven Things About God the Israelites Learned in the Wilderness.”
In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses reviewed the events of forty years of wandering in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan. In that time the old generation of Israelites had died and the younger generation had come of age and was about to go into the land of Canaan. In Deuteronomy 2:7, Moses recalled seven things about God. The verse begins, “For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.” The LORD God is a personal God. How can the Creator of the universe be our personal God? Psalm 23 starts out, “The LORD is my shepherd.” God takes time for each and every one of us to hear our prayer.
The verse continues, “in all the works of thy hands.” God made it his province to bless all the works of Israel. Over and over God blessed them. America has also been blessed. No nation’s people have had the freedom, the rights, the wealth, and conveniences that Americans have enjoyed. Truly God has blessed the works of our hands. There are homes and churches where God is honored and Christ exalted. They have been blessed.
They learned about the perception of God. “He knoweth thy walking.” They were walking across hostile territory (Edom). They were often thirsty and had to buy water. It was difficult, but God was leading them through. The Christian life is not always easy. Sometimes righteous people suffer and some times they are taken out. What appears as a tragedy may be a blessing. The Lord may be taking the righteous away to escape the evil to come (Isaiah 57:1). There is no trouble but what God will lead you through. Isaiah 42:16 refers to the blind being lead through paths that they do not know, but God said that he would make the darkness light before them.
They learned God’s purpose in taking them “through this great wilderness.” When they walked through the wilderness they had to do it “one day at a time.” They learned that they could depend on God. It took forty years to get the “Egypt” out of the Israelites. In Deuteronomy 8:16, God said that he had fed them with manna that he might humble them and that he might prove them to do them good at their latter end. We sing a song that says, “This world is not my home,” but we can depend on God to take us through.
They learned the patience of God in “these forty years.” God is not in a hurry. He is from everlasting to everlasting. Impatience should not overrule purpose We should learn to wait for God.
Israel learned about the presence of God. “The LORD thy God hath been with thee.” The Lord is always with us. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20 “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.” Jesus also said that he would never leave or forsake us. Family and friends may leave or forsake us, but God will never leave or forsake us.
“Thou hast lacked nothing.” They learned about the provision of God. Deuteronomy 8:4 says, “Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.” In Psalm 84:11, the psalmist said of the LORD God, “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”