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Wandering in the Desert

May 1, 2018

“Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.” Deuteronomy 1:8

God had given the Promised Land to Abraham and his descendants. However, three generations later (Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph), there was a famine in the land, and the family to whom God had given his great promises left for Egypt where they eventually became slaves.

That dark era of oppression lasted 400 years. Then the people called out to God, and he raised up Moses, who led the people out of Egypt in the exodus. God then made a covenant with them at Mount Sinai, in which he would be their God and they would be his people.

Here in Deuteronomy, Moses recounts what happened next when God gave them the Ten Commandments: “The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go… See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land…’” (1:6-8).

God organized the people and when it was time for them to move forward, they appointed leaders and sent out spies to survey the land (1:9-25). But then fear set in, and the people were unwilling to go up, grumbling against the Lord and losing heart (1:26-28).

God said about that generation: “Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to give to your fathers” (1:35; see also Num. 14:23). So the people wandered in the desert for an entire generation. They could not go back to Egypt. They could not go forward into the Promised Land. They were stuck—a believing people going nowhere.

Have you ever found yourself, as a Christian, feeling stuck?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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