“These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD: and these are their journeys according to their goings out.” Numbers 33:1-2
These may not seem to be the most exciting verses in the Bible. In fact, most of this long chapter might be seen as boring. From their exit of Egypt and throughout the long, long wandering in the wilderness, Moses listed all the places where Israel had travelled. They would go to one place, set up camp, and then go to another. Moses chronicled it all.
One lesson I believe the Lord would have us learn from this is to gain wisdom by remembering the past days of our lives. The history of Israel for those 40 years was quite a history. Great deliverance from Egypt. Great disobedience. Rebellion against God. Complaining against God’s provision. Being seduced to sexual sin. Unbelief. And more sins could be added to the list. However, the great mercy of God could also be remembered. Deliverance from other enemies besides Egypt. The provision of a faithful leader in Moses. Bread from heaven that fed a people who could not feed themselves. Water coming out of a rock to quench their thirst. The bronze snake in the wilderness that was God’s mercy to a dying, sinful people.
The fact that there still was an Israel at the end of these 40 years is surely a story of Divine mercy and grace. As you look back at your life, can you learn wisdom? Wisdom from past sins, surely. But, is there not much mercy to remember as well? How many times has God delievered us from foolish mistakes we had made, provided for our needs in some unexpected way, and fed our souls with Christ’s goodness? Has His providence not led us well, even though we may not have planned the journey out as He did? Has He not been faithful in seasons of joy, sorrow, stress, burden and many unanswered questions?
May we look back and remember the goodness of God. May we recognize that we are as dependent upon His love now just as much as we ever have been. And, may we press on for the rest of the journey, trusting and obeying.