Great Expectations

Can you imagine what it must have been like as Israel drew near to the land of Canaan? I’m not sure I can. Like you, I can set the parameters up: Some of the people had been waiting 40 years for the moment, while the rest had merely been looking forward to it all their lives. It was all they had heard about since they could remember. Now it was about to happen. They would have been like a pot boiling over in their eagerness and enthusiasm.

Most of us have some experience waiting for things: graduation, marriage, the birth of a child, buying a house, etc. How many of us have waited on something for 40 years? Or here’s another way to think about their readiness to enter the land—they had been camping for four decades!!!  

Maybe there was a little bit of an edge to their anticipation. I’m sure some of them thought about how this had been promised to the previous generation, but they didn’t get to experience it due to their unfaithfulness. Miriam and Aaron had died, and Moses wouldn’t be entering with them. That must have seemed strange and perhaps even daunting.

There was a lot going on with the them, as there is with us as we start to move out of our wilderness. Normally in such cases, it’s helpful to consult with someone who has been there—but because of the uniqueness of Israel’s situation and ours, that’s not really possible.

What Israel did to prepare for moving out of the wilderness and into the promised land is covered in portions of Numbers and Joshua, but it’s basically the concern of the book of Deuteronomy. God didn’t leave things to chance or assume everything would work out fine on its own. He prepared His people for what was ahead.

That’s something worth thinking about at this time.

And the Lord directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. (Deuteronomy 4:14)

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