These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. (Numbers 33:1-2)
As we discussed in the previous devotion, the different stations where Israel camped throughout their wilderness journey reveals more than what we see on the surface. Each destination had purpose although it was not always evident to the people. The reason the purpose escaped them is because, like so many even today, it was hard for them to see past their circumstance and realize the big picture. Most of them were not thinking of the long-term goal of being raised up as a set-apart people; they were focused on the hostile environment, the bland food and various other details that made up their average day.
Another way to look at it is, they were thinking only of the journey and the difficulties it presented, not the destination. At one point they told Moses, “You haven’t brought us into a land of milk and honey; you took us out of a land of milk and honey,” of course, referring to Egypt. In short, they would not or could not get focused on the long-term goal of the Creator and the reward it would bring.
We would do well to remember this in the days ahead because, as Messiah forewarned, our days on earth will be filled with trials and tribulation. But He also said that we are not to despair but to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). If He has overcome the world, with all of its challenges, then through Him, we can as well. Let’ put it this way: He endured the suffering of the cross because of the “Joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). He knew that the suffering was brief and the reward was eternal. Likewise, let us look beyond the challenges of today’s “campsite” and see the big picture — those who endure “will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
Blessings and Shalom,