God's word in today's world

Shortest route to joy and peace


Sometimes I wish we could take out some parts of the Bible or simply skip over them. Those parts that grab you by the throat and stop you dead. Like these verses:

7-11Today, please listen; don’t turn a deaf ear as in “the bitter uprising,” that time of wilderness testing! Even though they watched me at work for forty years, your ancestors refused to let me do it my way; over and over they tried my patience. And I was provoked, oh, so provoked! I said, “They’ll never keep their minds on God; they refuse to walk down my road.” Exasperated, I vowed, “They’ll never get where they’re going, never be able to sit down and rest.”

Hard words.

Did you know that the Israelites had to travel a distance of approximately 2 000 km to get to the promised land? If all the Israelites stood in a straight line one behind the other, one metre apart, that line would have been six times as long as the distance they had to travel.

If they travelled seven kilometres a day, it would have taken them 40 weeks. Instead, it took them 40 years! For many, this was a lifetime. Even for Moses, because Moses lost his temper and hit the rock that had to give the Israelites water.

The Israelites also didn’t do their part. They went their own way all the time. They got caught up in their own struggles and lost sight of the bigger picture. Often, they put their own desires above God’s will. They often did their own thing without first checking that it was also God’s purpose for them.

Every time God pulled the Israelites back to the right way. But as soon as they faced a challenge, they got so busy with the matters of the world and turned away from the heavenly road. And when you follow your own head, it often turns out catastrophic.

And there comes a point where even God draws a line and says it is enough. And then they have to take another detour. And God hopes that they will learn their lesson. Learn to obey his will. But no, just over the next dune, they turn south again. With the result that God descends on them.

This is a wake-up call for each of us. We must stop looking for an alternative all the time. We mustn’t chase after worldly dreams. They are plastic anyway and do not bring real joy and peace.

We must pursue God’s will with everything in us and obey it. That is the shortest route to real joy and peace!

Scripture
Hebrews 3:7-19

Reflection
Where are you still pulling in the wrong direction?
What must you do differently?
Where do you have to make better choices?

Prayer
Father, may You never get angry at me. Never! I know I sometimes take a wrong turn. I confess this to You now. Please help me make better choices in my life. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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