The Path to Promise

“They’ve been given the law not too long before,” Karl says, “but it’s been hard. Life with God hasn’t been easy. God has discipline. His goal isn’t to make us happy, his goal is to lead us to maturity—like we’ve talked about a lot. God ordains feasts, but also fasts, and a life of discipline and training—a life in the wilderness—can be totally frustrating. So, when there are others around, others doing good, eating well, free to live as they want, it’s easy to say what’s the point of following God. Take the easy way, as it doesn’t make a difference.”

“Or makes it easier in the moment,” Nate says.

“Or makes it easier in some way, that’s right. The Israelites, not all of them but a lot of them, gave in. Indulged. They were tempted by the sex and stayed for the sacrifices to other gods. It was a gateway. They didn’t hold onto God. They rejected him because they wanted what they wanted. And they got burned.”

“Things became good and that became a problem,” Debbie says. “The wilderness is a dangerous place. Rebellion, desperation, and temptation.”

“Oh my,” Nate says, with a chuckle. “What we have to remember, and make sure people pick up on, is that this isn’t because God had rejected Israel. These aren’t the judgments the prophets talked about, that’s what I’m finally seeing. All this stuff, all that happened, all these choices are coming about because God led them into the wilderness. This is, in essence, all God’s work because he’s leading them to this new freedom, this promised land. But they all have a choice in the midst of it.”

“And we think God is this outside force, aloof and we lose heart,” Debbie says. “We lose sight of God who is with us in it, who helps us.”

“Because he walked the road too,” Nate adds.

“With Israel,” Karl says. “Not against it.”

“And not just with Israel,” Nate says. “This is all the story of the Gospel. The story of Jesus. God walked this road in his life he lived in Israel. Jesus endured it all. We don’t see this magical life full of blessings and great honors. We see struggle. Death. Torture. A lot of joy and wisdom along the way too, but a lot of coming face to face with the reality of the world’s evils. Jesus faced it all, the same way we did, only with a perfect faith. So, it’s not like we’re asked to do something God doesn’t understand. What’s the verse in Hebrews? ‘Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.’ God is with us in the wilderness, because he has spent a lot of time there himself. So there is hope. Even if there’s all kinds of dangers too, which get worse if we don’t choose to step with God.”

From Exodus: The Path to Promise (working title), chapter 16, by me. 🙂

I finished the first draft of this book this morning. I’m using the story of Exodus, the setting of the Columba Pub and Restaurant, including the characters who made up It’s a Dance, to talk about how God works to lead us to a more thorough spiritual maturity.

Now, I have to do some editing…

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