The Challenge of Getting There

Our Christian life is well illustrated by the journey of the children of Israel to a place they’d never been.  God had fulfilled it to their forefathers but now it would be to a new generation. While in Egypt many wondered what kind of land it was. It wasn’t a paradise but it was better than Egypt. I’ve got it a whole lot better now than when I was in sin. We’ve not reached heaven yet but we’re on our way. Israel knew they were getting close to the Promised Land from the sign posts. The Jordan River wasn’t far. They were close. We’re close today and the signposts tell us so. 

I Corinthians 10

1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Someone was with Israel all the way. They were never free of trial and testing. The devil never left them alone. They were Egypt free and Pharaoh free but not devil free. He’s on our tracks too. It was the desert tribes, hunger and thirst but if they followed God they would be all right. We are encouraged and exhorted to go on. We’ll need faith tomorrow and a year from now. The problems will be there but God never forsakes his people. 

Once delivered out of Egypt they were under the cloud of God’s unfailing presence. The didn’t see God. Even Moses only saw the backside of God’s glory and that was enough to make him glow. The cloud provided shade in the heat of the day. At night God’s presence was in the pillar of fire. It was just enough to warm them.  He took care of them. When they got hungry God provided manna. When they got thirsty he provided water. Then there were places of barren land and Moses and Aaron were told to go to a rock. It spewed out water like a giant hose. That Rock was Christ.

There were hard trials and tests. He led with his presence in the cloud and fire. He never failed. He went before them and also followed them. How can you go wrong?  On either side were temptations. When the people were challenged they had a choice to make. They fussed at the manna wanting meat. That mixed multitude complained a lot. Dissatisfaction is the root to getting away from God. While God was doing his best the people threw it back at him. They wanted quail so he gave it to them. It was “coming out their ears.” Before they could chew it up God send judgment. Don’t test God and complain. Many say it’s natural to be dissatisfied. Going to church is not a concert or opera house. God’s house is God’s house and is meant to be that. If God’s promises and blessings are not enough, be careful.  What you want may run out your ears. Many people fell by the wayside. If the straight way is too hard, there is no other way. Has God ever let us down? No. Are his blessings ever stale? No. We cannot live today on yesterday’s blessings. He has promised that every day he’ll be there. Some in Israel missed the flavors of Egypt. We need to desire the flavors of God.

The devil tempts and tries. It’s important to remember verse 11. Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. How God dealt with them is our example. We’ll be tested and tried. The warning is in verse 12. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. I need God, but I can’t have him with my face still turned toward Egypt. You can’t ride a horse backward. We go by our faith in Jesus Christ. We pay no attention to the right or left. Paul tells us to be content with what we have because God has given it to us.

We see in verse 13 that we’re all tempted but God is faithful. With every testing there is a way of escape. The choice is ours. Given in or take God’s pathway of escape. As we recognize the temptations always look for the way of escape. God will give you the strength you need. It feels better to overcome than to give in.  It’s a challenge to make it but we can surely meet it.

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