You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord. Lev 23:15-16
This 49-day period between Passover and Pentecost is a time of reflection, repentance and expectancy. We look forward to entering our Promised Land, but we also reflect on our past to make sure we have let go of everything that would hinder the fulfillment of our identity and calling. We repent and receive cleansing by the Blood of Jesus so that we are fully prepared to “enter in.” This is a time to press in to God and be assured of His sufficiency for us in every area of life. The story of the Israelite’s journey through the wilderness is our example. As you will recall, their journey was not easy. Truthfully, it brought out the worst in them. They grumbled and complained at every turn. We are to learn from their mistakes and see that the key to entering into our promise is to trust God no matter what things look like outwardly.
The story reveals the struggle of the ages, the struggle to believe God is good all the time and He only has our best interests in mind. God is not a heavenly Santa Claus that seeks to make us feel good. No, His purpose is and always was, to prepare us to be a pure spotless Bride for His Son, the Bridegroom. He said He made us in His image. The problem of our sin was dealt with on the Cross, but now we must be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” so that we live from our Spirit not from our soul. We must take to heart what it means to come out of Egypt, out of a world of bondage, and be conformed to Jesus and the pattern of heaven.
By day three of their journey in the desert, the Israelites were tired and thirsty and had all but forgotten the miracle of being delivered through the Red Sea. Their celebration and rejoicing on the banks of the sea was a distant memory. They were off to a rough start. When they left Egypt, God said He would not lead them by the way of the Philistines, even though that way was shorter. God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” God’s purpose in this was to prepare them to enter, and then possess, the Promised Land. The Promised Land was full of “enemies” and the Israelites would need to be strong enough not only to take the land but to keep it. He was testing their hearts to see if they were ready to fully submit to Him as their “King.” He said He would lead them, guide them, protect them and provide for them. Did they believe it? Their responses would reveal that they didn’t.
Do you believe it? God uses the wilderness to prepare His people to take dominion, to rule and reign. He doesn’t think small. He is not preparing us to just get by and keep the enemy at bay, but to completely defeat the enemy and establish a new Kingdom. The test is hard! Like them, many of us are tired and weary. We were tired before we began the journey and we keep asking, “Aren’t we there yet?” Daddy God’s response is, “We’re almost there, but we have a few more stops along the way.”
For the Israelites, their first stop was Marah, the place of bitterness. The people were thirsty and, at the sight of water, hope rose up. When they put the water to their lips, however, it was bitter and they couldn’t drink it. They grumbled against Moses and Moses cried out to God. God provided an unusual solution by telling Moses to throw a tree in the water to make it sweet. Then Father gave them instructions.
“If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.” Ex 15:25
God revealed Himself as their Healer. The Israelites had just witnessed the plagues in Egypt. Several of the plagues created infirmity and sickness in the people and their livestock. He was declaring that they would not have to worry about those things happening to them as long as they lived in fellowship with Him. The tree pointed to Jesus, the Healer, that hung on a tree to take away our sins and our infirmities. Jesus makes our life sweet! Then He led them to 12 springs and 70 date palm trees. What a refreshingly beautiful picture of God’s promise to take care of His people! The Father was not withholding from His people, but waiting to see how they would react. He had already planned good for them.
God is using your situation to reveal Himself in a new way to you. He wants to assure you that you will be safe from the storms of life if you are trusting Him in sweet fellowship. What you see happening around you is not your portion. If you are feeling the weariness of the journey today, remember what God has done. Remember that, in the spirit, you are already delivered from Egypt, you are on your way to your promise. The things that seem like setbacks are not there to cause you to doubt the promise. They are there to shake loose the wrong thoughts and mindsets that want to hold you captive. Let them go and choose a new response. Praise when you feel like pouting. Rejoice when you feel like ranting. Trust God’s heart for you when you feel tried. You are being prepared to rule and reign in your domain. There is a moment and there is a place for you! Just keep going….
I pray that the joy of Lord would be your strength today!