Chapter 20 of Numbers is a good place to write a reminder note in your Scriptures. What is the reminder? It has been 38 years since the Hebrews left Egypt. Why is this fact so important to make note of? Think back. When did we begin reading of their journey? It was the first of January of this year. Six months have passed for us. Consider how much has happened in our lives and the world since the first of the year. Now consider where you were 38 years ago. That was 1980. I was preparing to say goodbye to the U.S. Army and begin a career with the FAA. I was not married and did not have children. Talk about ancient history!
What is the purpose of my trip down memory lane? Think about this. What if you had been given a promise back in 1980 and it had not come to pass yet. What if instead of entering into that promise you have been living in a tent and traveling from desert wilderness to desert wilderness. What if in the first years of your travels you were told your time in the wilderness would be forty years? Thirty eight of those forty years have passed. What is the possibility of you growing impatient waiting for your promise?
Before we throw stones at the Hebrews or at Moshe, let’s take time to consider where they have been and how long it has taken them to get to where they are.
What are the first verses of Chapter 20 about; frustration. They were given a promise and a date. They watched friends, relatives and acquaintances as close as two tents over die one after another. Only a few people are left from before that infamous spy ordeal. Complaints are repeated, “I am sick and tired of this wilderness.” “Why did we leave Egypt in the first place?” “The life our parents told us about did not sound that bad.” “What guarantees do we have this is not just a scheme by Moshe?” “Moshe is getting old and senile. Maybe he has lost his way.” The statements going through the camp probably went on and on. They were frustrated!
The frustration of exile ended up costing Moshe dearly. No longer able to separate himself from the spirit of frustration, Moshe lashed out in anger disobeying a direct instruction from Yah. His disobedience cost him entrance into the Promise Land. All he worked towards, years of service to this ungrateful people and one act changed his life dramatically.
It has been about two thousand years since a couple of angels spoke a promise to some folks gathered on the Mount of Olives. There have been countless bones buried among the walk of Israel’s exile. Words of early redemption “dates set” have come and gone. Maybe you have even entertained the words of 2Peter 3, “Where is His promised coming.” Are you feeling a bit frustrated, tired of the journey, tired of the exile, tired of the fight? In your spirit can you see the Kingdom just over the horizon? Do you find yourself imagining the taste of the fruit of its Land? Are you dreaming of the end of Torah arguments, wolves in sheep’s clothing, righteous rule, shalom on the earth? Do you find talking with some people about how close His return may be and they look at you as if you just arrived from Pluto?
If that describes you, then you and I are living in the same tent. What is our challenge; to keep putting one foot in front of the other? Don’t allow time to wear you down into the trap of murmuring and complaining. We must press on toward His Kingdom no matter the personal cost.
This week I will turn the page to John 18 on my Living Torah program. Getting to this chapter has taken over three years. Interesting thought, it took Yeshua about three years to get to this chapter also. With the page turn we will consider the last days and hours of His life. It is my prayer that as I expound on this part of Yeshua’s life, you and I will gain strength from His last days to encourage us in these last days.
One last thought to leave you with. In this portion we also read the account of the poisonous snakes in the camp. What is the purpose of the snakes? To get the people to look up for their redemption was drawing near. May it not take snakes at our feet to make us change our gaze!
Shalom and Be Strong,
Joined To HaShem
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