“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. They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month, [and camped at Succoth]. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians... And they set out from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. And they set out from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, and they camped before Migdol. And they set out from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and they went a three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah. And they set out from Marah and came to Elim; at Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. And they set out from Elim and camped by the Red Sea. And they set out from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin… And they set out from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. And they set out from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai.
“And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of Egypt. And the Canaanite king of Arad heard of the coming of the people of Israel. And they set out from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah… And they set out from Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. And they set out from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.” Numbers 33:1-3,5-11,14-15,38,40-41,47-48
On and on went the wayfaring, tent camp after tent camp in at least 41 places over forty years, and each place, though together a singular journey looking back, was significant. Setting his life in order, Moses kept careful account of where God had led and provided for His people, documenting the journey for generations to come. From their victorious escape from slavery in Egypt to the place of vision at the edge of the Promised Land, he named every wilderness, oasis, arid thirst, joyful provision, threat from without, and sorrow.
Taking time to recount our journey with Him is a healthy exercise in gratitude. God has given human emotion and thought for processing how He has been intricately involved in what has been, teaching us to trace His hand and providential influence in all of history. In every wandering, misery, longing, expectation, assuaging of thirst, He is present. He Who superintends time and the measure of our lives deserves to be magnified above our in-the-moment perspective. He is Lord over all, from beginning to end, lavishing the deep valleys, wildernesses, mountaintops, and every step in between, with His abiding grace and faithfulness. (Psalm 90:1-2)
Lord, You Who have been faithful thus far will be faithful to the end. Cause me to love You more each day of my sojourning. (Deuteronomy 7:9; 1 Corinthians 1:9)