WILDERNESS JOURNEYS

Journal Entry by Brenda Jones

S –   Exodus 8:27 (NKJV)
"We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He will command us.”

O – Observation
Here as Moses petitioned Pharaoh for a fifth time to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt to go in the wilderness to worship God as instructed, I was struck that the original request of Pharaoh was only for 3 days.  I’m guessing I had not noticed this before when reading these chapters, knowing the ending that the Israelites were going to be set free from Egypt at the end of this petitioning process.

But did God always say it was going to be a 3 day journey?  In Exodus 3:18 , God directed Moses to ask for a 3 day journey, but that Pharaoh would also say no, and that when the Israelites do leave, it will not be empty handed (Exodus 3:21).  Then as God spoke with Moses and Aaron in Exodus 7:1-5 of today’s reading, He clearly indicates that He is about to do something bigger than they anticipated.

A – Application
We all go through wilderness journeys at some point in our lives, and as I find myself in wilderness moments, the endurance required to persevere when things are not happening in my expected timing has been greater than I can sustain.  In this place I have found myself frustrated and hurt by feelings of abandonment from God, and question if He really is here for me.  Surely I can’t be the only one who has ever felt like this, and appreciate that I am reassured as I read God’s word that as the Israelites fled Egypt and forgot about His powerful hand which had helped them escape, that I am not the only one in history to have done this.

What a reminder this verse is, that just as Moses petitioned Pharaoh knowing full well he was requesting to go on a wilderness journey, that over the years I too have petitioned God to bring about change in me, which I was acutely aware could be a difficult process.  So why then in the middle of the wilderness journey do I feel abandoned knowing full well that the sanctification process I sought, was going to lead me to this place?  Maybe have I, like Moses, seen only the instruction God gave me, and failed to recognise that the journey was going to be so much more.

So what can I learn from this?  God's instruction was to go into the wilderness for 3 days to worship Him.  But as He freed the Israelites and they escaped into the wilderness, He fulfilled His promise to not leave them empty handed, and He continued to provide along the way.  But it was their lack of faith and disobedience that saw them flounder in the wilderness and have to await receipt of the promised land some 40 years later.  It is only by keeping my eyes on Jesus, and not doubting that His promises are true that I can see the bigger picture and all that lies ahead, even when surrounded only by the wilderness.


P – Prayer
Dear Lord, Your word truly is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  In my times of unbelief, thank You that You have all I need ready to remind me that You have not forsaken me.  Thank You that You understand just who I am and how I tick.  That You can provide a Word and it taps into my mind that seeks to understand, and it is in that place that the pieces fall into place and You give me a glimpse of the big picture, and the very reminder I need to restore my faith in You.  Lord, I ask that You strengthen me through Your Spirit, that I will not do as the Israelites did and fall into a perpetual place of losing sight of You and all You have promised me.