Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 26:1-27:26 (additional reading Psalm 76:1-12 and Proverbs 12:15-17)
How would we react if like Paul, there was some hurt in our life, some continuing disability or weakness, or pain, that we have asked the Lord to remove it, not once, not twice, but many, many times? And instead of removing the hurt from us God simply replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
As we come to Deuteronomy 27 Israel is coming to the end of a very long journey. For 40 years, they have been wandering around in the wilderness dealing with their everyday life. At this point, they are on the verge of experiencing their finest hour. The wilderness wanderings are over, and the promised land is just in sight. Everything they had experienced up to this point had been preparing them for this moment. But before they could go forward, God wanted them to pause and make a place of worship. Before they could experience the blessings of the promised land they had to learn some lessons from the past and use those lessons as a springboard for worshipping God.
God used the wilderness experience to transform Israel and to purify their faith in the day to day activities of life. It wasn’t like a 40 year camping trips. These people had children to raise, jobs to do. They laughed, they cried, they worked, they played, they grieved, they rejoiced. There were times in their lives I’m sure when they had to struggle just to survive (Numbers 14 for example).
Anytime you and I experience a spiritually hard place in our Christian lives it can become a major obstacle to overcome. The wilderness is a hard place and also a lonely place. Isreal were a separate people. The other nations looked on them with dread and fought them at every chance they got. Loneliness is one of those hard things in life that we often have to deal with. As well as loneliness in the wilderness, but there was also death. In those 40 years, Israel buried an entire generation of their people. There was not a single family that was not touched. It was a hard place, in the wilderness they struggled with life, they fought with their enemies and with each other, they encountered thirst and a recurring need to come back to God the source of Living Water. They faced opposition, discouragement, frustration, and defeat, in essence, they daily dealt with the hard things in life.
As we come to Deuteronomy 27 we see that God tell his people to build the hard stones into an altar. It was made from those very stones they had gathered in the hard place and hard things they had experienced. It was a place of worship, a place of rest, a place of recognition, a place of wonder and amazement at the love and power of God who had so graciously led them out of the wilderness. The focus was no longer the struggle but the God who brought them through. Likewise, it is important that we don’t give our problem the attention which we should be giving to God who is faithful guiding us into a better place.
- What lessons has God taught you through hard times?
- How can you worship God in hard times?
Father, Thank You that You are always at work in our lives, in the good times and the hard times. Thank You that You are always working our Your purpose and things for our good. Help us to worship You at all times for You are most worthy of all our praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.