As a kid or a parent, "Are we there yet?" is a common question we ask or hear, especially on a long trip. The question highlights the excitement, anticipation and anxiety for the journey. Today I will be starting a three sermon series through some stories in the book of Numbers regarding the nation of Israel's journey from the Egyptian exodus to the brink of the Promised Land.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have God clearly guide you as to exactly where to go and what to do? How many of us have prayed, "Lord if you would just tell me exactly what you want me to do, I will do it"?
In Numbers 9:15-23, the nation of Israel is given clear and specific guidance through a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Great! They knew exactly when to go and when to stay put. But the difficult part is they never knew how long they would stay or how long they would travel. It could be two days, a week or a month!
Can you imagine what it would be like to travel like that? How hard it would be to wait for the pillar of cloud/fire to move! What is God doing?
This passage in Numbers comes after the grand story of the exodus. The Israelites had been dramatically rescued from slavery and oppression in Egypt by the mighty works of God through Moses. First it was through the 10 plagues and then later through a miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. They were on their way back home, to the land that God promised to their ancestor Abraham.
Interestingly enough, after the dramatic and grand rescue from Egypt, God didn't miraculously transport them to the Promised Land. Instead the journey took days and weeks and months and years. Numbers 9:1 tells us it is the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt. They have been travelling for over a year.
God has been faithfully guiding them but their journey was long and God was teaching the people patience, trust, obedience and God's provision.
Where are you at in your journey with God? Just as God did not transport the Israelites to Egypt after their rescue, Jesus doesn't beam us up to heaven once we receive Christ.
Instead after we have been rescued from sin and death and hell by the precious blood of Christ, we remain here. And in our journey through this life, God is teaching us patience, trust, obedience and God's provision.
Are we there yet?