Waiting is a universal issue, though. Waiting on marriage. Kids. New Job. It seems I am always waiting on something, and I think that is the way God built us. Waiting makes us hungry for something more. We're meant to yearn, to desire more, to draw near. The question is, what are you yearning? What do you desire? What are you drawing near to?
Our pastor is doing a series on false gods. Basically a false god can be anything--even a very good thing--that replaces the BEST thing, God. What are the things you are waiting for? In your desires, have they replaced the BEST thing? Those are questions I am struggling with myself.
Anyway, this passage is a great reminder for me in any period of waiting. It keeps my focus, too, on the One leading more than the long winding path.
The truth is that none of us knows the will of God for his life. I say for his life—for the promises is “as thou goest step by step I will open up the way before thee.” He gives us enough light for the day, enough strength for one day at a time, enough manna, our “daily” bread. And the life of faith is a journey from Point A to Point B, from Point B to Point C, as the people of Israel ‘set out and encamped in Oboth. And they set out from Oboth and encamped at Iyeabarium, in the wilderness…From there they set out and encamped on the other side of the Arnon…and from there they continued to Beer…and from the wilderness they went on to Mattanah, and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab.’
So far as we know, nothing happened in these places. Oboth, Iyeabarium, Arnon, Beer, Mattanah, Nahaliel, Bamoth mean nothing to us. They traveled and they stopped and they made camp and packed up again and traveled some more and made another camp. They complained. There were so many complaints that even Moses, who was a very meek man, could hardly stand the sight of these who God had called him to lead. But all the time God was with them, leading them, protecting them, hearing their cries, goading and guiding them, knowing where they were going and what His purposes were for them and He never left them.
It is not difficult when you read the whole story of God’s deliverances of Israel to see how each separate incident fits into a pattern for good. We have perspective that those miserable wanderers didn’t have. But it should help us to trust their God. The stages of the journey, dull and eventless as most of them were, were each a necessary part of the movement toward the fulfillment of the promise.
This may only be a stage in life’s journey, but every stage is a gift. God may replace it with another gift, but the receiver accepts His gifts with thanksgiving. This gift is for this day. The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived—not always looked forward to as though the “real” living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.