Deuteronomy 2 continues the story of the journey of the people of Israel to the Promised Land. Moses recalls what happened along the way. “We turned and journeyed into the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea, as the Lord told me”. They had left Egypt and were following God. They did as God said. So they traveled around Mount Seir for a while and then God said “turn northward”. Remember that Moses didn’t have GPS with him for this trip. He was leading hundreds of thousands of people on the ground along with their flocks and other possessions. And they head onward following his lead.
It was a long journey. But these words jumped out. “The Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing”. Here is the reality for life my friends. God is with us. He never leaves nor forsakes us. If we don’t feel Him, it isn’t because He has moved on. He isn’t going anywhere. He is always with us. But more than that – we never lack what we truly need. The people on this journey spent a lot of time complaining. They complained about Moses and his leadership. They complained about the food they had to eat. They murmured against each other. They kept looking at the few things they didn’t have rather than be grateful for the many things that they did have. They lost sight of the vision and the future and allowed the present and their desires to cloud their perspective.
There was reason for the forty years of wandering. “The time from our leaving Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the brook Zered was thirty-eight years, until the entire generation, that is, the men of war, had perished from the camp, as the Lord had sworn to them”. God has some cleanup work to do. An entire generation needed to die. Because of their lack of faith and trust in God, and their unwillingness to follow His instruction, none of those alive at the time of the spies were going to be allowed to enter the Promised Land. So it took a while. 38 years to be exact, for all those who failed to obey back then to die. But now God is ready to take His people where He tried to take them before.
The Promised Land didn’t change. God didn’t have to do anything with that land or the people who were living there. The problem was not the destination, it was the people on the journey. But now that God has cleaned up the people it is time. “This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you….Begin to take possession, that you may occupy his land….there was not a city too high for us. The Lord our God gave all into our hands”. There is the attitude God wanted 40 years earlier. Nothing is too difficult when we do it God’s way. And now, with a new set of warriors, they are ready to take the land. God puts things in motion and nothing will stop them. Obedience to God’s instruction is unstoppable. With God, we cannot fail. Now that they are on His page, the journey is coming to completion.