READ: Numbers 9-10
THINK: I can’t imagine being a part of the nation of Israel during this time. Waking up each morning in the desert and looking for the cloud, knowing that if it moved it was time to pack up and follow and that if it didn’t it was another day right there in that same piece of desert. And also having absolutely no clue when it would move and when it would stay. Eating manna for breakfast every day. And then eating manna for lunch every day. And then eating steak for dinner…just kidding…manna. Manna, which literally means “what is it?” for every meal. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t hear that and feel jealous. It was a weird season of life for the Israelites.
But God was doing something. Though the movements of the cloud seemed random to them, they weren’t random at all to God. God was shaping his people. Every moment that they were in the desert was a moment that God was giving them a bigger picture of who he was and a bigger picture of who he designed and called them to be in the world. And I so appreciate that because in my own life it isn’t always easy to see God in the frustrations. It’s nice to know that he shapes and molds us in those spaces and never abandons us there.
Sometimes we need to step back and remember all that he’s done for us so that we can have the proper perspective in the present. The thing in these chapters that jumps off the page most, to me anyways, is that the nation of Israel celebrated the Passover. Even in the middle of the desert. And it was so incredibly important that they all celebrate it that anyone who couldn’t – for reasons of ceremonial cleanliness – participate the first time got a make-up date. The Passover, put simply, was a meal that symbolized God’s deliverance from their slavery in Egypt. Each bit of food had significance in helping the people to remember what God had done.
So, why was it so important? Because humans are forgetful. We are so forgetful that we need tangible reminders – symbols – of who God is and of what he has done for us. So God ordained this celebration and commanded the nation of Israel to participate in it in order that they might intentionally and powerfully remember. But here’s the kicker: he didn’t do that for his sake – because he wanted the glory of being reminded of his mighty triumphs or he wanted extra praise once a year. He did it for their sake. And for ours. How so? It radically changes the way that we see our lives when we remember all that God has done for us and view life through that lens.
It’s easy to forget. And get bitter. And cut God out of our stories. But even in the midst of the hardest and most confusing seasons of life – like the season of wandering in the desert for the Israelites – when we step back and intentionally remember what God has done it changes everything about who we are. It gives us his lens – his lens to see ourselves and his lens to see those around us. So never forget to remember all that God has done for you!
PRAY: Our lives are so busy that it’s easy to never stop and think about what God has done and is doing. Take a time out today and think about that stuff. Take a trip down memory lane and recall the things he did for you years ago that impacted who you are today. Thank him. Worship him. And then walk away with a commitment to be more intentional, more frequently about taking stock of all that he has done in your life.