When we moved Taylor to New York City last year, we made the long trip in our truck. We loaded up all of Taylor’s earthly belongings, made an overnight stop at my sister’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia and then headed for New York. Unfortunately, we were delayed by a missed exit in Washington, D.C. Even with the help of a GPS and Google Maps, it took us and hour-and-half to get back on track. A trip that should have taken 5 to 6 hours from my sister’s house ended up taking us almost 8 hours!
A trip that should have taken the Hebrew people no more than a few weeks ended up taking 40 years! There was a lot of wondering and many wrong turns. This week’s reading is a heart-wrenching story of God’s people going in the wrong direction and walking in circles. It is the story of a power struggle between Aaron and Moses. It’s a story of complaining from those who think they had it better in Egypt. It’s also the story of how God continues to be with His people even when they are at their worst.
Questions for the Week
Consider journaling your responses to these questions:
How might God help you recalculate your life direction and get back on track when you are wandering?
While the whole of the Christian life could be considered “The Land Between,” what are some specific difficult transitions that God has called you to make? How were your experiences and emotions similar to the Israelites in the wilderness? How were they different?
How do you keep hope and trust when you find yourself in the wilderness? What do you do when you are tired and cannot see any end in sight?
All through chapter 6 of the The Story God disciplines the people to get them back on course. What is the value of being disciplined by someone who loves you and wants the best for you?
How can Christians today be like the people in the wilderness—complaining, grumbling, and rebellious against God’s leading and plan? Can you think of examples of how you fall into this pattern if you are not careful?
Ten of the men who spied on the land let their minds and eyes focus on the obstacles (Numbers 13:26-33. Page 75 in The Story). What are ways in which you can be frozen by fear and fixate on the obstacles rather than on God who can help you overcome them?
How have you seen the sins of one generation poison and damage those who came after them? How have you seen good choices and spiritual maturity being passed down from one generation to the next?
How are you seeking to pass on a healthy and positive legacy to the next generation? How can you be a blessing to your children, grandchildren, or the young people your influence?
What will help you hear and respond more quickly and responsively when the Lord is trying to lead you? What is one area in your life where you could be more responsive to God’s leading?
As you take time to pray, here are some ideas to get you started:
· Thank God for his loving discipline and invite him to help you stay on his course for your life.
· Confess where you have wandered from God’s plan for your life and ask him to help you recalculate.
· Pray for a mature heart and spirit that does not complain, grumble, and whine when things do not go your way.
Reflect on the ways your life has gotten off course. Ask God to help you recalculate and get back on track. Confess where you have been stubborn and rebellious. Think of the grace you have received during those rebellious times. Think of ways you can change you actions, attitudes, thoughts, and motives to bring them in line with God’s will for you.
One of the best things we can do is listen to people of wisdom and faith. In chapter 6 of The Story, Joshua and Caleb come back from their exploration of the land and give wise counsel. Unfortunately, the people do not listen. Try to find one or two wise men or women of faith that know you well and ask for their insight and perspective on life. Share how you are seeking to follow God and where you feel you are wandering off course. Invite their wisdom and prayerfully listen to them. Consider asking if they will meet with you on a regular basis to be a sounding board as you seek to walk with God. Another option would be to gather a group of peers together and form a covenant group where you could grow and learn with each other and also hold each other accountable.
Read for Next Session
Read Chapter 7 in The Story.