I first met Mrs. Melissa at a Mission’s Conference at my church over 12 years ago. We both had children within a couple weeks of each other and she had brought her newborn. I followed their ministry from then on, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that we were both speaking at a ladies meeting and we got to talk and get to know each other more. She has been a source of encouragement to me and has many times just messaged to tell me she was praying for me. To know that God would lay me on her heart, knowing she is busy and traveling and has her own family to take care of is a blessing that I don’t take lightly. I’m thankful for her stand and faithfulness to the Lord, and her friendship to me. Thank you Mrs. Melissa! You can follow the Moore’s ministry page here: https://www.facebook.com/PTMDuaneMoore
“He knoweth of thy walking through this great wilderness.” Deuteronomy 2:7
Have you ever felt like your path is leading you straight into a wilderness? Often this wilderness seems dry and deserted and you wonder what God is trying to accomplish in your life by bringing you this way. I can’t explain the deserts, the valleys, the mountains, or the wilderness, but I know I can promise one thing, He’ll be there! Hebrews 13:5… “ .. for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
I can only imagine how strange it was to the Israelites when again God said to them “turn and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.” Why could that at all have been the plan of God? Why was that the direction that they needed to take? It seems that is not the best way. We tend to analyze (at least I do) where I am and what I think should go on in my life, and sometimes question why this is the place I find myself.
As I was reading this passage from Deuteronomy obviously knowing how the story turned out, my first thought was “Why could those people just not take heed to the Lord? Had he not already delivered them before? Had they not already gone through the miracle of the Red Sea? Could they not just trust Him again! But as I look at my life do I not act the same way at times? I can’t see the end either. The Israelites didn’t know how it was all going to work out, they were just asked to do one thing, OBEY.
Let’s rewind and talk about where we find the Israelites at this time. In the first book of Deuteronomy, Moses is speaking to the children of Israel on what is referred to as “this side Jordan in the wilderness, against the Red Sea.” They were in the plains of Moab and could see the Promised Land across the Jordan River. They are an eleven days journey from Horeb where God gave the ten commandments. 11 days journey from Kadesh Barnea ( where they listened to the unfaithful spies). These places are all mentioned as Moses gives them an overview of the last forty year that they have been in this wilderness. A reminder of the life they had lived and why. Forty years earlier, God had declared he had already given them a land. He had set it before them. All they had to do is trust the Lord and go in and possess it.
Moses had already explained to them, “Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the Lord God doth give unto us. Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.”
The elders and men of wisdom thought about it and decided they would send in twelve men , one from each tribe, and see what this land held for them. ( the kids song resounds in my head. “twelve men went to spy on Canaan ten were bad and two were good” ) .. and yes because of those ten men this is where the problem came in.
“… ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD.”
Deut 1: 32-33a “Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God, Who went in the way before you.”
AGGGHH ! WHAT? God has already been there. He already went in before them to show them the way that they should go. I am over here yelling, just do it.. Believe Him, trust Him! Go and get what God has given and already promised you! What is wrong with you people?????
But yet, I look in my own heart. God tells me to go this way.. and yet sometimes, I look back and murmur. Why did he bring me here? Is He going to leave me here to die?? Was it not better BEFORE??
I spoke at a ladies meeting this year and the theme was ‘Count it All Joy”. Whew! that can be a tough one! As I studied that phrase I started looking at that simple word “all”. That word “all” doesn’t mean just the place you are in right now. It simply means ALL. “ the whole quantity”. That means you can go back to times in your life when that relationship didn’t turn out how you thought it should, and now, praise God, you can count it JOY! You can walk back to that place where God brought you to your knees, and even though it was the hardest place you had ever been before, you can “Count it ALL joy”. You can look at that job that didn’t work out, that friend you thought would always be there, and now as you see Go’s hand working and weaving in your life you can Count it ALL joy.
The Israelites had rejected what God had for them. What a terrible place to be! Because of their unbelief the majority of them will never get to see what God had for them in the Promise Land.
My favorite verse that I quote to myself quite often is ‘As for God, his way is perfect” Ps. 18:30. There is nothing grander than perfect. You can’t perfect something that is already the best. Why do we fight what God is doing in our life with our murmuring and our disbelief?
The Israelites had rejected God’s advice and leading to go up the mountain and conquer the Amorites and possess the land he was going to give them, and now are at the place where God says” turn and take a journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea”. It is interesting to me how the people responded at this point. They had already completely missed what God had for them, and God had changed directions because of their disbelief. Now they find themselves in a predicament. They hear what God says, know they should follow Him ahead, but they immediately start to recant and decided to back track..( Oh No.. we have sinned against the LORD , we don’t need to go by the Red sea! There is this hill where God told us to originally go. Now we will go up and fight like the” LORD “commanded” us. We surely can do this own our own. ) Only the problem now is it is too late, they missed their opportunity. God was willing to go before them, fight for them but it was His way, not theirs. It was His path, not their path.
The most important thing that they missed was that no matter where it was they were just suppose to go where God was going. It didn’t matter where that pathway led. His way was the best way and His presence is irreplaceable.
We have this habit of asking God “where have you Been?” Why didn’t you walk with me here? Truth is God is not the one who moved that direction we are. When we choose to veer off our own direction and chose a path we think is better, we can’t expect His presence to be real in our lives. You see God will never lead us on a path and have us walk it alone. He will not lead us into a fight and not have already given the victory if we trust Him to fight it for us. We need not accuse Him of leaving us when we are the one who moved in the opposite direction.
But now back in the wilderness these Israelites wanting to do it themselves decided to take on this battle that should have already won with God leading and tried to go back to “make up” for what they missed.
“They rebelled against the commandment of the Lord and went presumptuously up into the hill.” Deuteronomy 1:43
Wow. Presumptuous! When I looked up this word the definition came up as this, “Failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate”; “an idea that is taken to be true although it is not known for certain.”
The Israelites during their journey came to a point that although the Lord had supplied their need before, although He had done great miracles for them and had been their cloud by day and fire by night, they still thought their way was going to be better. They didn’t understand where he was leading them so they presumed God would just be there and they would benefit by going their own direction. They lost that battle that day. The Bible says the Amorite chased them (Like a swarm of bees). They came back defeated, weary, weeping before the Lord, but they were still in the wrong place…
God had not directed them to this place so guess what? He would not listen unto their cries. Not until they “turned” and took their journey where God had told them to go to start with. Into the wilderness by the Red Sea. It was there when they finally turned back to where God was that he started directing them again, blessing them, and supplying their need.
I wonder how much time is lost in the things that we could accomplish. How many battles do we not see won because we are too busy fighting with the Lord instead of letting Him fight for us? How many years are wasted in the wilderness and lessons we refuse to learn when we need to just understand that “he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness.”
These people disobeyed and would not see the promise land because of it. He didn’t just kill them right there ( although he wanted to!) but he still allowed them on this journey so they could get to the place God had promised, not for themselves, but for their children. In this wilderness they were paving the way for the generations to follow them.
Sometimes it is so difficult for us to see the hand of the Lord. He tells us to go through the wilderness. And we want to just go up the mountain, fight this battle get it over with. But His way is NOT our way. He knows so much more than we do. We don’t know what God knows. Because of that it is crucial that we take a good look at the path that we are on. Are we walking the way of the Lord? Our future and our children are depending on us following the Lord.
Are we going to just trust God when he says “turn you, and take your journey into the wilderness.” or are we going to fight God about the direction He is leading and try to fight the battles ourselves?
“Prov. 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Ps. 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way.”
His way is delightful, full of joy! If we would just follow Him and walk in the light He has given us we would live as much more content people.
Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Notice the paths to which He leads. They are ALWAYS righteous. He will not bring things in our life that produces unrighteousness. Every step we take we need to evaluate is it drawing us closer to the Lord or taking us away from the Lord. His path is not as hard to follow as we make it out to be. If we just let Him lead, and follow.
Solomon penned in Proverbs 2:9 “ Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness.”
The way opposite of God is dark, destruction, devastation. If we follow God’s way… there is nothing dark about it…
Psalm 119:35 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Psalm 17:4 “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.”
HE will NEVER lead us wrong. So why is it that we are walking in the wilderness? Why do we have to go through the Valley? Because it pleases the Lord to lead us there. There is so much the Lord wants us to know about Him.. How else can we learn of Him? How else can we learn His ways, unless we walk right beside Him in the paths he wants us to take in all the wanderings of the wilderness.
Moses gave them this instruction.:
“ Only take heed to thyself and keep thy soul diligently lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but each them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” Deut 4:9
There were some that followed: Yet there were some that the Bible said were “wasted”. (Deut 2:14)
What a tragedy to not allow God to take us through these hardships, when He has already promised to not only go with us, but to go before us. Disobedience and unfaithfulness to the Lord delayed the Israelites 40 years. How long will our disobedience and doubt delay our victory?
Why should we question His hand when “ He knoweth the way that we take.”
The most important thing that we can have is God’s presence. What good would the mountain top be if God’s presence was not with you there? What good would the cool clear stream be, when God was waiting for you at the Red Sea? What contentment could you have swimming in the lake when God wanted you to walk across dry ground? Why is it that we think we should have our say so? If we could just get a hold of the great salvation and deliverance God has given us through Him.
Remember “He knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness:” Trust Him there. Stay with Him there. Rest in Him there. It is in that place He has for you that you dwell in “His secret place” and “abide” under His shadow. What a blessed place to be!
I was saved at the age of 6 years old and the Lord instilled in me at a young age the desire to serve Him. I am every grateful for the family He gave me and how he has guided my path through these years. At 12 years old the Lord dealt with me about marrying a preacher. I knew that he placed that in my heart. The Lord chose for me to wait on that desire and at the age of 30 I married the one God had chose for me. Those years of waiting and trusting taught me so many things that I am grateful for. I now have 2 boys ages 6 and 12 and travel extensively with my husband Duane in “Mission Evangelism”. The Lord allows us to help and visit Missionaries all over the United States and all over the world. We also have the privilege to work with young people and have a program where they can travel with us to learn about the ministry. It is a blessed and often times chaotic life. God knows how to mold you for the service He puts you in. This is my place and I am glad the Lord allows me to serve Him here.