- Don’t overstay in a place where God doesn’t want you to be Deuteronomy 1:6-7
‘The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7 Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon,as far as the great river, the Euphrate.
You can stay long enough. You don’t have to go early or leave before the end. But when God says it’s time to go, we must move on. Know when to get out. Know when to get out of a place. (Elijah knew when to leave brook Cherith when the brook dried up 1 Kings 17:1-7). Know when to get out of a place. Know when to get out of a job or a career. Know when to get out of a relationship which is bad for us. (Israel out of Egypt.)
- Know when your opportunity arrives Deuteronomy 1:8,21
8 See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.”
The Israelites were told to go and possess the land twice in this chapter of Deuteronomy.
21 See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Sometimes God tells us things twice and they still don’t get done. Second time around the Israelites knew they had to get in to Canaan and claim their promise.
3. Understand God’s gifts are ready to possess
Without the Exodus from Egypt where would the Israelites be? They wouldn’t be on the threshold of Canaan. They would still be slaves to Pharaoh. Without completing the arduous forty year journey through the Wilderness where would Joshua or Caleb be? They would be in their graves in the desert. But instead they completed the forty year journey and now have a unique opportunity to enter the Promised Land.
Joshua and Caleb realised that they and the people of Israel were now again positioned to enter the Promised Land. Basically they realised God’s purpose for their nation. We too must realise God’s goals and purposes for our life. When we realise God’s goals and purposes all the events of the past receive their meaning and perspective. Forty years later the people of Israel knew by faith that God’s gift of Canaan was ready to possess.
And so it is with the Christian believer. The Promised Land was a gift to Israel. A gift which they needed to be proactive and obtain. Go in and take possession of the land. Action was required to appropriate the gift. Do we realise our position as Christians today? Do we realise God’s gifts are ready to possess?
There’s at least one gift ready for you to receive. A gift to use for the glory of God. A gift to use for the benefit of others. A gift to use for enjoyment to yourself.
A gift is freely given but its not passively received. Sometimes we have to open the present, or unwrap the packaging or take the gift out its box or reach out and grab what is being offered to us. These things opening, unwrapping, removing and grabbing indicate action.
Action was needed to receive the gift of Canaan. Likewise action is required to take hold of our Christian gifts. 2 Timothy 1:6-7 NKJV
‘Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’
The word for stir is like the stirring of a cup of tea with a spoon. However, not half a stir, but a full stair. Not a lame stir but good hearty stir to give it a thorough mix. Thats why some Bibles translate ‘fan into flame the gift that is within you’ the idea is a strong or disturbing reaction rather than a gentle swirl.
Give your prayer life a good stir. Give your faith life a good stir. Give your worship life a good stir. Give you Bible reading a good stir. Give the fruits of the Spirit a good stir. Make every effort to possess God’s gift.
4. Appreciate you’re not on an ordinary journey Deuteronomy 1:2
‘It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road’
A day’s journey may have taken about twenty miles on foot. Travelling on camels, at the rate of three miles an hour, the people could travel about thirty miles a day. Moving by caravans, you could do a day’s journey in about twenty-five miles. But the Israelites, with children and flocks, would move at a slow rate.
But no further time was required for an ordinary journey to Kadesh. Traveling under ordinary circumstances it only took eleven days from Horeb, the South peninsula of Sinai to Kadesh. The area was situated south of the land of Canaan. Only an leven days journey. But this was no ordinary journey.
A believer’s journey through life is no ordinary journey.
So we need to ask, why did the people of Israel take forty years to accomplish an eleven, day journey?’
There are two reasons why the journey took much longer than expected.
(a) The will of God.
The Lord delayed them or led them forward on their journey as seemed good to him.
18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. 22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. 23 At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.
(b) The sins of the Israelites also kept them back on their journey.
Remember, and do not forget, how you provoked Jehovah your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you departed out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against Jehovah. Deuteronomy 9:7
God’s love for his people is evident. The people were ungrateful and rebelled towards God, for the space forty years. Yet, God was patient with them. God was patient with them day after day. God was patient with them week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. It takes time to be holy.
5. You’re probably gonna experience an eventful year on the way to your blessing Deuteronomy 1:3.
On occasions we might have good years. Other times we might enjoy happy years. But we will also encounter at some point an eventful year.
‘In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the Lord had commanded him concerning them’
The fortieth year was an eventful year for Israel. The year began with the arrival of the people for the second time at Kadesh. They had already been at Kadesh and got the T shirt forty years previously.
Unfortunately, this second arrival was followed by the death of Moses’ sister Miriam. A great loss and bereavement for Moses family. We all experience the loss of loved ones.
This fortieth year was also the same year Moses sinned by violently smiting the rock in anger. We all at some point will be tempted to do God’s work or ministry with a wrong attitude.
This fortieth, year was also the same year that the Israelites were subject to a refusal by the Edomites. The Edomites wouldn’t allow Israel safe passage through their land. Refusal often offends. As a result of the Edomites refusal the Israelites had to turn southward towards the Read-Sea. This turn around was the long way around. They had to go the scenic route and spend more time than necessary to get to Moab and reach their destination east of Jordan.
This same year Moses brother Arron had also died when the people were camped at mount Hor.
It was the same year the plague of fiery serpents had afflicted the people.
That same year there had also been some battles which the Israelites had to fight. The whole land of Sihon and Og had been conquered successfully.
Then there was a negative prophecy given by Balaam trying to curse Israel.
Then there occurred a national failure at Baal-peor.
Then there was another battle fought which gave the Israelites victory over Midian.
After all these events there still remained two months left to complete the fortieth year journey through the wilderness. The final two months of the year were spent listening to Moses’s teaching. Finally, Moses died and the people finished the fortieth year mourning Moses death. WHAT AN EVENTFUL YEAR THAT WAS.
6. Things become clear overtime Deuteronomy 1:5
‘Moses began to expound this law’
Expound is a rare verb. It means to dig or hew or cut (like engraving something). Therefore expound means to make clear. It points up the way in which the laws of Deuteronomy are first stated, then explained, then made the subject of exhortation.
7. Increased blessings incur increased burdens Deuteronomy 1:9-13
Moses reminded the people of what previously occurred.
At that time I said to you, “You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone.10 The Lord your God has increased your numbers so that today you are as numerous as the stars in the sky. 11 May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised! 12 But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself?
8. Find a solution to your burdens
13 Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”
9. Propose to do good Deuteronomy 1:14
‘What you propose to do is good’