Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward. Deuteronomy 2:3 (KJV)
This journey God has called us to is a walk of faith. Sometimes we forget that. We want a map, signs and wonders, confirmations, voices from the blue, and blessings every step we take. We want the fleece to be dry at the snap of our fingers and otherwise wet to reassure us. What does that have to do with faith?
By faith Abraham, when called…obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. That’s faith. Abraham had no guide and no oversight committee, but he trusted God. He was from a pagan society, but he trusted God. And God didn’t fail him. Every promise that was made to Abraham was fulfilled, and through him came our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Abraham listened and kept moving.
Moses, another faithful man, led the faithless Israelites out of bondage in Egypt and stopped on the way to get God’s instructions at Mt.Sinai. He had barely trekked up the mountain when the Israelites asked Aaron to construct a god for them, a tangible symbol they could see and touch. And, of course, there were many other times of disobedience and unbelief until finally God let them wander through years of sand and bare bones existence. Their lack of trust in the God who had made a way through the Sea and through the chartless desert relegated them to a lifetime of unfulfilled wandering.
Finally, God said they had gone round and round long enough. It was time to move on. Time to trust God to do what he’d promised, time to listen to him, time to obey. Faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1). It is not seeing the end from the beginning—only God does that. It is not seeing the fulfillment of our prayer at the moment we say amen. Only God does that. It is not understanding God’s methods, his delays, or his silences. And it is definitely not reliance in our own abilities. It is simply trusting God to do what he promised and to always make everything work together for good (Rom. 8:28).
So, isn’t it time to get up and move (Deut. 1:8)? We’ve spent too long going round and round the mountain. Onward. God is able.
Father, we really expect magic from you at each point of distress. Pull that rabbit out of the hat or part the waters at our command. Forgive us. Faith is hard, but it’s also your gift. Help us to grow up and to move out in faith. That pleases and blesses you. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.