From The You Version Bible
Wilderness Wanderings Lent may recreate the wilderness of wandering and wondering that is part of the journey for God’s people. But we can meet God there, find a new direction, and renew our commitment. Will you seek to find God in your wilderness? From the Africa Study Bible introduction to the book of Numbers: Overview and Story: Numbers gives an account of the forty years of Israel’s pilgrimage to the Promised Land. It gives a record of those who were redeemed from Egyptian oppression and how they responded to God’s kindness as struggling and imperfect people. In Numbers, the Israelites left Mount Sinai, where God had given them the law and established his relationship with the nation of Israel. We see the children of Israel’s reaction to God’s Word through a cycle of obedience (Numbers 1–10), disobedience (Numbers 11–25), and renewed obedience (Numbers 26–36). Many of these events happened in Africa. The Lord parted the Red Sea and the Israelites crossed through. They traveled through the wilderness of Shur/Etham and then camped at Marah, where the Lord purified their drinking water. When they wandered in the wilderness of Sin, the Lord provided manna and birds for them to eat. We learn how Israel returned to enter the land after forty years of wandering in the wilderness, during which time an entire generation had died as a result of their disobedience. In spite of all this, God remained faithful. What Numbers Teaches Us: Often, life in the wilderness shows more about God’s love for us than life in the city of plenty. When things get difficult and there seems to be no way out, remember God’s promises to us—that God has been working with us from birth. Remember too that disobedience has consequences. God did not overlook the disobedience of Israel like a permissive parent. An entire generation of Israelites died in the wilderness. They experienced fire, snakebites, plagues, and did not get to enter the Promised Land. When we rebel against God, we deny ourselves the amazing experiences God intends for us. Today: Jesus was led into the wilderness for 40 days by the Spirit of God. The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness because of their disobedience. Can you retrace your steps to a time you felt you were in a wilderness? What lessons did you learn there about God’s love?
30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. 32But you – your bodies will fall in this wilderness. 33Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34For forty years – one year for each of the forty days you explored the land – you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.”