If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;
Isaiah 1: 19
When the Israelites first came out of the wilderness, before they entered the Promised Land, they encamped at Gilgal. It was a stopping off place for the Israelites. They were no longer in the wilderness where they had been for the last forty years, but they weren’t in possession of the promised land either.
The forty years leading up to this time in Gilgal had probably been marked by frustration ( when God when?) and unanswered questions (why God why?) and may have left them wondering if they would ever get out of the wilderness. Ever feel that way? You thought you were headed somewhere but it has taken so long to get there that you have given up hope?
These Israelites were born in and grew up in the wilderness. They didn’t learn about faith from their fathers, they didn’t learn about fighting or even hunting. Basically, their skills for survival were limited. Their skills for taking possession of enemy owned land, even less.
But God brought them to Gilgal where He rolled away the reproach of Israel, all the shame and dishonor that came from being slaves rolled off leaving them better prepared to start afresh in a new life, one they could barely imagine.
It is easy to think when we go through a wilderness time, that our live will never be good again. That we will never get out of this, never have another chance and nothing about our life will amount to anything. That this time spent in the wilderness is such a waste. But that is not the message of Gilgal.
As God cleaned up the people and began preparing them to start a new life, I picture him looking over their resumes for transferable skills that would be useful in the promise land.
First, He would see that they know how to grumble and complain.
Second, He would see that they know how to set up and take down tents.
Third, He would see that they know how to gather manna.
Not terribly useful skills for their new adventure, but then He saw it: they know how to wander; they had walked in the wilderness for forty years.
And so, He came up with a battle plan to take their first city – Jericho.
All these Israelites had to do was walk around the city with their mouth shut until God said to let loose the battle cry! These men knew how to walk and God saw a way to use that to lead them to victory.
God would do the rest.
They did what they could do, God did what only He could do and they took possession of their first city in the new land! They were willing and obedient and God used them to take possession of Jericho.
If you are in the wilderness, don’t lose hope. God isn’t angry with you nor has He abandoned you or forgotten you. He can take what seems like waste and use it to lead you to the victory you may have given up hope of every seeing.
It’s a new year and this could be your year to take hold of what God has planned for you! Hang in there!
pic credit: relentless.taketheinterview.com