Thoroughly Equipped: The Patience of God

Today’s reading includes Numbers 36:1-Deuteronomy 1:46, Luke 5:29-6:11, Psalm 66:1-20, Proverbs 11:24-26.

Today we wrap up the book of Numbers and begin the book of Deuteronomy.  Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy, and it was a bit of a recap of the journey he and the people had taken over the course of 40 years.  It is really a collection of “sermons” Moses delivered to the people over the course of 40 days.  This was 70 days before they entered the Promise land (Joshua 4:19).  After the 40 days of sermons and recapping the lessons of the years, Moses died.  The people mourned his death for 30 days (Deuteronomy 34:8), and then entered the long-awaited Promise land.  So, the words we read throughout the book of Deuteronomy, were Moses last words.  The last words of a dying man are very important.  The last words are often reminiscing words of memories and wise words of what was learned along the way.

It’s important to note that almost all of the people who had originally left Egypt had died off.  The only ones who were left were Moses, Joshua, and Caleb.  Moses knew he was going to die.  He knew he was not going to be allowed to enter the Promise land because he had disobeyed God by striking the rock instead of speaking to the rock, thus blocking the display of holiness that God had intended for the people to see.  But, his eyes had seen the land and now his lips were ready to speak the final words of preparation.

Joshua and Caleb were the only ones of the original group who would be allowed to enter the Promise land because they were the only ones who stood up and believed God when the spies entered the land 40 years prior.  All the others replaced their faith with fear and caused all of the people to fear the good things God promised.  But finally, the time had come.  The Israelites were about to finally enter the land promised to them so long ago.  This was a new generation.  The old generation was gone and this young generation needed to hear the stories again.  They had not witnessed the parting of the Red Sea.  They had not been there when the ten commandments were received.  They needed to be reminded of the faithfulness of God, the laws of God, and the holiness of God.  And so do we.  And these themes are prevalent throughout the book of Deuteronomy.

In today’s reading, we see another attribute of God—His patience.

Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai[b] to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month,[c] Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the Lord had commanded him to say.

                                                              Deuteronomy 1:2-3

Normally, it only takes eleven days.  Less than two weeks.  God’s people could have received God’s promises in less than two weeks.  Instead, it took them 40 years.  They wandered for 40 years in the wilderness, learning lessons the hard way.  And what of us?  Are we content to wander?  Are we content to stay on the east side of God’s best for us?  Are we content to put off receiving all the spiritual riches God wants to give us?  Are we continually having to learn lessons the hard way?

As we go forward in our reading of the book of Deuteronomy, let’s remember God’s faithfulness, let’s strive to understand His laws, and let’s respect His holiness and strive to be holy ourselves, trusting in the One who paid the price for us.  And let’s be thankful for His patience with us.

9The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

                                                                                       2 Peter 3:9

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.

                                                                                      1 Timothy 1:15-17

Leave a Reply