“…the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell face down, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them.” Numbers 20:1-6
It has been nearly 38 years (give or take) since the Israelites have left Egypt. God raised up Moses to lead them out into the desert to worship God. And they were destined to take possession of a new land flowing with milk and honey (God’s words, not mine). Miriam, Moses’ sister, has just died and they have arrived at the Desert of Zin. It has always baffled me how you know when one desert ends and the other begins…I mean, with all that sand, is there a line drawn in it?
Anyway, this desert, like the rest of the deserts, has no water to be seen and the people begin to complain against Moses. In their grumbling they say these words to Moses, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place?”
It has always amazed me how the Israelites spend the entire time complaining and grumbling. But this time I was amazed at what they were saying. They were still talking about Egypt. They were still blaming Moses. They were still grumbling and saying “poor me”. They even went so far to blame Moses because they had not yet crossed into the promised land when they were the ones who refused to go when they arrived at the border of the promised land. I mean, they were just not going to let it go even after all these years!
And then it hit me or maybe it was the Holy Spirit. I have been a Christian for 20 years. Am I still grumbling about the same things? Do I still complain about the things God has called me to do? Am I still blaming others? Am I still dwelling in the Desert of Zin or the desert of sin? Do I still hold a grudge, withhold forgiveness, refuse to take responsibility? Am I still HERE after all these years?
We have an advantage over the Israelites. They did not have the resource of the Holy Spirit. But you and I have the Spirit of God to help us be overcomers. We can cross over into the promised land. He has promised to help us. It is time for us to stop blaming, offer forgiveness, take responsibility, and stop grumbling. It is time for us to place God first.
Will you join me this Lenten season? Let’s move out of the desert and cross over into the promised land flowing with milk and honey.
Keep fighting the good fight of faith!