Stuck in the wilderness. That’s where we find Moses and the Israelites in the book of Numbers. Despite seeing God work in mighty ways through the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and faithfully leading them with a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day, Israel allowed fear to push them into rebellion and disobedience. Instead of taking the land as God commanded them, they grumbled and wept, and even asked to go back to Egypt.
God’s anger burned against the people for their rebellion and refusal to obey while Moses faithfully intercedes on their behalf. Their lives are spared, but the door to the promised land is locked, never to be experienced by the current generation.
Can you imagine how Moses felt?
I’m sure frustration was at the top of the list. Weariness. Anger. Sadness. Perhaps even hopelessness as he realizes he’s now stuck in the wilderness waiting for people to die.
Scholars believe Moses wrote Psalm 90 after this epic failure of faith at Kadesh Barnea (Numbers 13 & 14). What would you have written to God in that moment? I know what I would have written, yet Moses’ first words in Psalm 90 are completely astonishing.
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.”
It’s hard to imagine, that amidst the tragedy that occurred at Kadesh Barnea, Moses would say these words. The first words of this Psalm could have been completely different. Moses could have pleaded with God, “please, Lord, have mercy and let us enter.”
God had been merciful before, maybe He would be so again. He could have refused to intercede for the people of Israel and instead, in anger and resignation, just handed them over to a very angry God.
Yet, Moses doesn’t do any of those things. Why? Because Moses had learned a hard, but invaluable truth in that wilderness. He had learned that home was not always a place. He had learned that home was wherever God was. And while they weren’t able to enter the Promised Land at that point in time, God was still with them, wasn’t He? He was still their pillar of fire by night and cloud by day. He was still their provider and protector. God had not changed, despite the circumstances.
What a beautiful truth and encouragement for us today.
Perhaps you are in a place of discontentment. Maybe you feel stuck in the wilderness too. A season of life that you wish was drastically different from how it is currently playing out. A place of weariness. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? When we are able to recognize, as Moses did, that God is our dwelling place, we are in a way, released. Released from expectation of how we think things should be, and released from the fear of what could be. And finally we are freed up to allow God to be enough.
Moses realized that even without the beauty and promises of the new land, God was enough. God was his refuge. Wherever these words find you today, friend, find peace in knowing that you can abide and rest in the Lord. Whatever chaos may be ensuing in your life, you are safe in the sufficient, sovereign, and fully capable hands of our Savior. May this realization comfort and encourage your heart, as you faithfully wait in the wilderness.
by Amy Crump