Then the Lord said to me, 3 “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north. 4 Give the people these orders: ‘You are about to pass through the territory of your relatives the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. 5 Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on. I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his own. Deuteronomy 2:2-5
As I think back on all the times I acted before the Lord was ready for me to (or before I consulted Him) I cringe. Yikes! I can promise you this, all those moments turned out as either failures, delays or destruction. None of which are my favorite things to encounter in life. I believe that’s why as I read these verses it was as if a floodlight was shining brightly on them.
Finally, God tells Moses they have wandered around the desert long enough and it’s time to get moving a start taking over some land, “Turn north!” the Lord tells him, but when you pass through this land don’t even think about taking it. The Lord tells Moses they won’t get enough of this land to even put their foot on so keep moving! In other words, don’t waste your time. Thankfully, Moses was a great listener when it came to the Lord, not to mention a great advocate for his wayward Israelites. As they continue the Lord faithfully gives Moses clear instructions on what to do as they travel through each bit of land.
The Lord said to me, 18 “Today you are to pass by the region of Moab at Ar. 19 When you come to the Ammonites, do not harass them or provoke them to war, for I will not give you possession of any land belonging to the Ammonites. I have given it as a possession to the descendants of Lot.” Deuteronomy 2:17-19
Surely, after all those years of wandering the desert, the Israelites are more than excited to begin claiming some land for themselves. Settling down would have been their greatest desire at this point. I think that’s why I find it so amazing they listened to God as they went even He said, “No, not yet, not this piece of land, just a few more miles . . . OK, now!”
24 “Set out now and cross the Arnon Gorge. See, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his country. Begin to take possession of it and engage him in battle. 25 This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you.” Deuteronomy 2:24-25
And finally, they received the instructions they had been waiting for years and years to hear and began to take the land that “God handed over to them.” (v.33). What if we lived like this? Heck, what if we listened like this? What if we never acted until God showed us the correct path? We wouldn’t wander and find defeat, delay or destruction by taking matters into our own hands because we got tired of waiting. What if we listened and trusted God’s plan, and as a result our actions produced success, build up the Kingdom of God and the outcomes were never hindered by selfish desires? Just considering it makes me marvel at what this world could look like if we could all live a little more like this.
Are you waiting to hear from the Lord? Are you considering taking matters into your own hands because He doesn’t seem to be listening or answering in your time frame? Will you join me as I pray for myself and all of us who struggle with the desire to get things crossed of the list, to conquer or to consider ourselves before others? I pray we can all be a little more like Moses in the wait.