The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years …since they had not obeyed the LORD. Joshua 5:6
I have heard many Christians quote 2 Peter 3:9 – “God will not delay in fulfilling his promise.” Peter is referring to God’s patience with us, hoping that none would perish. However, I have allowed myself to believe that this really meant, “If I want something from God, He will give it to me, in a matter of his timing.” Thinking this allowed me to believe that I had absolutely no role in his purpose for my life being fulfilled. Just sit back, buckle up, and relax while Jesus steers this ship in the promised direction, right?
I am always fascinated by the story of the Israelites, under the leadership of Moses, fleeing Egypt and pursuing the “promised land” just miles away. However, their disbelief and disobedience resulted in a forty year delay in the fulfillment of God’s promise. FORTY YEARS! Apparently, God felt that their obedience was more important than the fulfillment of his promise.
Did God withhold his promise from the Israelites? Of course not. He could not wait to give them what He had promised. The Israelites’ disobedience delayed the promise.
There is a distinct difference between people that are waiting on God and those who are wandering. When we have offered our hearts as a sacrifice to God, when we have killed our fleshly desires and want nothing else but God’s purposes fulfilled in our lives, God may lovingly make us wait. However, when we want something from God more than we want God Himself, when we complain about where He’s led us and when we are dissatisfied with living day to day on faith alone, we sometimes find ourselves wandering in lonely places. I am learning a lesson in contentment, and in having a heart that is prepared to move when God says “G0.” If only our eyes could be open to the possibility that God actually knows where He is leading us, how much quicker could we arrive at the promised location!