Jordan Ministries
Embracing God's Promise of Abundance When Hardship Endures
Impatient With the Journey
by Jenny on October 20th, 2015

"Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey . . ." Numbers 21:4

I pride myself on efficiency. (Blame it on my engineering degree--it's what I was trained to do. Decrease waste, increase output, optimize the process--I loved it!) I spend time gathering information before making decisions so that I can identify the "best" way to proceed. Once I choose a method for accomplishing a particular task, I despise interruptions. I don't like it when people mess with my plan. When things don't go my way I can be slow to adapt because I fear a loss of productivity. But you and I both know life is full of interruptions. So my love for efficiency often leaves me feeling frustrated. Rather than going with the flow, I am apt to grow impatient with what I see as a now longer, less efficient journey.

Turns out, I am just like the Israelites.

After God's people, the Israelites, had endured over 400 years of Egyptian slavery, God chose a man named Moses to lead His people to a land which flowed with milk and honey. However, to my and the Israelite's disliking, God did not choose to lead His people along the most "efficient" route. Exodus 13:18 tells us that, "God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea."

God had great purpose in leading His people in a "roundabout" way. After 400 years of living as slaves God knew that it would take time for His people to learn how to follow a new leader. Rather than trusting God around each twist and turn through the wilderness, many times the Israelites grew frustrated and impatient, hurling complaints against the One who had promised to lead and provide for them every step of the way.

Because of their distrust and unwillingness to do life God's way, the Israelites suffered a 40-year delay in their entrance to the promised land. Toward the end of their 40-year detour, God threw yet another obstacle in their path.

In Numbers 21, God's people are approaching Canaan, the very land which God had promised to His people as their great inheritance. God even brings the Israelites victory over the Canaanites in battle. But rather than marching forward to claim their inheritance, God turns them in the opposite direction toward Edom.

God's people could see the land, smell the honey. But for reasons unbeknownst to you and me (or the Israelites for that matter), God knew His people were not yet ready. Or maybe it was a need of the Edomite people, or of the Moabite or the Amorite or any number of other enemies, which first had to be addressed. The point is, God had purpose in the delay, in the apparent change of direction.

Psalm 138:8 reads, "The Lord will work out His plans for my life." What a great reminder for someone like me. In a season FULL of interruptions, I can take heart that what I see as detours are really just more training grounds for my walk with God. If everything went according to my plan, I might be tempted to think I was god. Instead, when things fail to go according to my plan but the end result is something greater than I could have ever imagined . . . I know only the One, True God could have produced such glory.

Rather than growing impatient with the journey, let us be confident of this, that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)

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Christy Miller - October 20th, 2015 at 7:42 AM
Needed this reminder
Unarine Khavhambe - May 6th, 2019 at 2:49 AM
Great Blog, this has blessed me indeed.
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Crossing Your Jordan

I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling, Bible-teaching mom of six, and wife to my college sweetheart. I believe everyone can live a life of abundance through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and radical obedience to His Word.

Do you have a relationship with God through Christ? If not, I would consider it pure joy to tell you about God, why you need Him, and how to be reconciled to Him through Christ.

If you know Christ as your Savior, do you know how to follow Him as Lord? If, like me, life's challenges have caused you to question whether you truly want to follow God's plan for you, or you simply don't know how to recognize God's ways due to a lack of biblical literacy, I would love to teach you what I've come to know about God through His Word.

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