Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stage by Stage

These are the stages of the people of Israel, when they went out of the land of Egypt by their companies under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the Lord, and these are their stages according to their starting places" Numbers 33:1-3.

And then there follows a long list of placenames tracing Israel's pilgrimage from Egypt to the Transjordan. Note the emphasis of the text: "Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the Lord."

Why these records? No adventurer can retrace the journey on a map or on foot, for most of the locations are lost to history. Yet clearly God intended these  places to be recorded and remembered forever.

Could it be that the list exists as a framework upon which Israelites could retrace the journey in their thoughts and recall God's goodness at each location?

I remember Rephidim. We were dying of thirst, but God directed Moses to take his staff and strike a slab of flintand to my amazement water gushed out of that hard, impervious stone! 'He turned the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water' (Psalm 114:8). Ill never forget that day! (cf., Numbers 33:14)

Try it: Think through the starting p[laces and stages of your existence and remember the ways in which God showed you his unfailing covenant love. Count your blessings; name them one by one. And it will surpsise you what the Lord has done!

David Roper

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