“It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea. Now it came to pass in the fortieth year…” Deuteronomy 1:2-3
It was supposed to take a week and a half. Instead, it took 40 years, or 2,080 weeks. The Israelite exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land was supposed to be a short trip through the desert on the way to a land that flowed with “milk and honey.” Instead, an entire generation died for lack of belief. They saw that the land was too “hard” for them, that giants lived there, and they thought they had it better in Egypt. For their lack of faith, God wouldn’t let them enter in.
Eleven days from the Promised Land…forty years in the wilderness instead.
There is an allegory here. The exodus is a picture of our leaving behind the bondage of sin (Egypt), being baptized into Christ (through the Red Sea) and entering the fullness of the Christian life (the Promised Land). The lack of faith and failure to enter in takes the form of our unwillingness to trust God and to live the life He’s called us to live. It’s fear of the battles we have to fight to be free, fear of what we have to give up to truly live. The time that we spend wandering in the wilderness is up to us. We either enter into all that God has for us in obedience, or we rebel and spend the next 40 years traipsing around the desert.
How many years have I’ve wasted! How much wandering in the wilderness I’ve done! How much pointless circling of the same piece of land, when the fullness of God’s promises are there waiting for me! And for what? Fear of the battles ahead? Fear of the giants I have to fight in order to clean out the land.
I’m not talking about “health, wealth, and prosperity” here. No, I’m talking about a life much greater than any physical comforts. I’m talking about the life Christ died to give us, the “abundant life” He won for us. It’s a life lived in union with God in Christ, given over to His will, not our own.
I pray we all would quit wandering and enter in. It’s been purchased for us. We must only receive it.