When Faith Supplants Longing

“And I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying, ‘O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’ But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again.  Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan.'” Deuteronomy 3:23-27

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13-16

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.” Matthew 17:1-3

Humble, faithful Moses wrestled with God’s pronounced punishment at the rock. Now, after 40 years of leading hundreds of thousands of grumbly Israelites through the wilderness, couldn’t he stand in the land that God promised? Couldn’t every sense take in the divine possession? Couldn’t he feel its grass and breathe its air and smell its cedars? Please? But the word of his great and mighty God held true. He would not enter the land, but would experience the heavenly fulfillment of earthly longing that faith enables. God’s grace was sufficient for the hard answer, the hope for the unseen, the waiting for glory. (Numbers 20:10-12; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 11:1)

Unmet longings can train us to reorient perspective and desire. While Moses wanted to take in the new land, along the way he’d taken in remarkable and life-enriching knowledge of God. The journey became opportunity, and he seized it wholeheartedly. He turned his own disappointment into potent instruction and rich worship. (Deuteronomy 4:32-40; 34:10-12)

What unfulfilled longings in my life might God be using to develop my faith in Him? Where could temporal sight be transformed to spiritual sight? Where might long waiting become long worship? How has God used time I would not have orchestrated to work miracles in mind and circumstance I would never have dreamed? (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Lord, please translate my every longing to sure and robust faith. Fill and fulfill the number of my days so You are trusted and exalted. (Exodus 23:26; Psalm 38:9; 87:7)

Relish Returning and Rest

“They are a rebellious people,
    lying children,
children unwilling to hear
    the instruction of the Lord;
who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’
    and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
    prophesy illusions,
leave the way, turn aside from the path,
    let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.’
Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,
‘Because you despise this word…
therefore this iniquity shall be to you
    like a breach in a high wall,..
    smashed so ruthlessly
that among its fragments not a shard is found…
    to dip up water out of the cistern.’

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
‘In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’
But you were unwilling…

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
    blessed are all those who wait for him.

“For a people shall dwell in Zion; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry...  And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction,..  your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left… 

“And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous…  And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water,.. Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold,.. in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow…

“You shall have a song.., and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord.” Isaiah 30:9-15,18-21,23,25-26,29

The way of the frenzied heart meanders far and wide, distant from the narrow path, down into self-sufficiency, idolatry, and rebellion. The more we run the more wayward we go, to our detriment and spiritual barrenness. But merciful God issues the call, Return, rest, be still. It is here before God we get re-centered, refueled, redirected. The blessed result of returning is fruitfulness, fullness of Spirit and peace. (Exodus 14:14; Isaiah 32:17-18; Hosea 14:1-2a; Matthew 7:13-14)

Where am I tending rebellion, self-sufficiency, or urgency? What causes me to close my ears to my Teacher and resist His word? Am I willing for the Lord to break my unwillingness? I can take one pause of restless driving, one step toward the holy mountain, to return. God in His grace welcomes, pardons, refreshes. He replaces craving with quietness, and our every cry becomes joyful song.

O God of my salvation, restore me again. Remove the rebel-bent and revive a whole heart and Spirit-filled mind that I might rejoice in You, increase in fruitfulness, and honor You all my days. (Psalm 85:4,6,12)

(Parenthetical Places)

“We turned and went in the direction of the wilderness of Moab. And the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the people of Lot for a possession.’ (The Emim formerly lived there, a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim. Like the Anakim they are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim. The Horites also lived in Seir formerly, but the people of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, as Israel did to the land of their possession, which the Lord gave to them.) ‘Now rise up and go over the brook Zered.’ So we went over the brook Zered…

“The Lord said, ‘Today you are to cross the border of Moab at Ar. And when you approach the territory of the people of Ammon, do not harass them or contend with them, for I will not give you any of the land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot.’ (It is also counted as a land of Rephaim. Rephaim formerly lived there—but the Ammonites call them Zamzummim— a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim; but the Lord destroyed them before the Ammonites, and they dispossessed them and settled in their place)… ‘Rise up,.. go over the Valley of the Arnon.'” Deuteronomy 2:8b-13,18-21,24

The Lord gave explicit instructions to Moses as he led Israel toward the promised land- where to traverse, where to avoid. They’d encountered enough temptation and refused to trust God against formidable foes, so there were some to avoid altogether. In his command not to contend with Moab, he took a long parenthesis to describe their dispossession of Emim. Do not flirt with places that have been dispossessed. Keep them in parentheses. (Numbers 13:7-14:4,36-45)

What God has forgiven He casts into the sea to be removed and remembered no more. Idols are to be destroyed. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Shame, strange gods, and resentments are all enclosed by the parentheses of Christ’s mercy and blood. What prohibitions do we keep dragging out to possess them again? (Micah 7:19; 1 Corinthians 13:5)

In our lives there are practices and situations we’d do better to stay away from than have them bring our ruin. God knows how tall and strong they are. There are habits and temptations He’s enabled us to put away, or in His grace removed, and those are not to be revisited. There are hurts and transgressions we’ve forgiven we’re not to recall. No good comes from flirting with what He’s destroyed and wants us to reckon as such.

Are we daily seeking His plan for where to journey? How willing are we to accept His no? How easily do we succumb to distraction? When we keep prohibited places where they belong, we have the strength to take on the enemies He would have us fight and conquer. (Deuteronomy 2:31-37)

Lord, keep me on Your straight and narrow. Help me keep in parentheses every distraction from wholeheartedness and full trust in You and what You have done.

Where Lay Treasures?

“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded... You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter…

“Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:1-5,8

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Matthew 6:19

“So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God… Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” “Jesus said to him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.’” Luke 12:21,33-34; 18:22

“Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith… As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10,17-19

So many efforts go toward building and amassing that we don’t always realize what’s been collected and taking up earthly and head-space. Bit by dizzying bit we collect meaningless lovers, idols that vie for our affection, objects that crowd orderly living, and at the end are faced with ‘what can I offer Jesus?’ (1 Corinthians 3:12-13)

If treasure is important to God, if He’s entrusted us with amazing bounty and beauty to employ fruitfully, if He is indeed our very great reward, what should we make of treasure keeping? It’s easy to disorder treasure when we value the wrong things, objects and accolades that have only temporal significance. They have no proper home in God’s child, so they twist our attention when we finagle to make them room.(Genesis 1:27-28; 15:1; Isaiah 45:3; Luke 19:11-27)

So how do we keep the main thing the main thing, how keep desire pure and laying up noble? What if we held our labors before the Lord and said, ‘all for Thee, Jesus, all for Thee’? How might efforts increase in zeal, affections be reordered, conversation elevate, goods be shared with new generosity, if all were expended toward heavenly treasure? Fresh enthusiasm, favor, and joy comes to those whose heart has shifted direction.

Lord, may I lay up treasure for You and forever, to the praise of Your bounty and grace.

We Serve the Servants

“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,  who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written, for the time is near.

“John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

“Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come.., and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood  and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him…

“’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and was and is to come, the Almighty.’

“I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, ‘Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches.’” Revelation 1:1-11

God gave His servant John visions for His servants, not just for him. He had called and equipped this faithful apostle, His chosen instrument for this specific role. He knew He could entrust these vital truths to him for description and conveyance. John received and executed the assignment with exquisite care. He understood God’s intent and accomplished it as a devoted servant and fellow partner with his readers.

John models one who, because he was in the Spirit, knew the Lord intimately and understood his calling. He eagerly received, then delivered God’s message with grace and peace and a high view of God in order to inform, fortify, and bless His people. He came alongside as a fellow servant, one in the fray and in the faith with them, to encourage and give hope.

The Lord has saved each of us to serve the present age. He’s appointed our time and place and days to know Him and fulfill His plans. He’s called us to do our part to put forward His work in the church and world. How am I handling my specific assignments? Where and how am I spreading His truth and grace? (Acts 13:36; 17:25-27; Ephesians 4:16; 1 Peter 2:4-6)

Serving others takes time, intention, and abiding in the Spirit. It requires humility before God, love for Him and His people, and much grace. It may involve sacrifice and hardship. What do my daily decisions and activities reveal about whom I am serving with time and resources? Are my efforts for self or others? How am I helping the Body know and prepare to meet Jesus?

Lord, may I faithfully serve You in this present age by serving the church and world to Your renown and glory.

All the Unendings

“I bow my knees before the Father,..  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit… that you… may have strength to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14,16-19

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?.. 

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35,37-39

To understand the vastness of the love of God in Christ there is a component of plumbing the profundity our own depravity. Unending meets unending in no neutral middle ground. God’s love and grace are high, measureless, uncontainable, and we sheep are sorely low and lost in interminable sin and need. Only Jesus bridges the chasm, only the Holy One reaches the depth of flesh with the highest of heaven. Who else can connect perpetual sin with my highest good by His fathomless mercy but the Infinite One?

There is no distance we can go to escape our Lord’s presence, no torrent of particular sorrow or grief the God of all comfort cannot assuage. There is no longing or want He cannot fulfill with His treasure, no destitution or confusion He cannot meet with hope and wisdom. To us belongs unending need, to Him belongs unending riches and joy. (Psalm 139:7-10; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 4:19)

Where do we take our dearth, our shame, our desire? Between Eden and heaven we will always be lacking, but the Lord is nigh with unending supply. Held in such a great salvation, will we daily drink deeply of His life? (John 4:14; Hebrews 2:3; 1 Peter 1:3-5)

“O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure of my longing soul!
My God, like You there is no other.
True delight is found in You alone.
Your grace, a well too deep to fathom!
Your love exceeds the heavens’ reach!
Your truth, a fount of perfect wisdom,
My highest good and my unending need.

O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer,
Strong Defender of my weary heart.
My Sword to fight the cruel deceiver,
And my Shield against his hateful darts.
My Song when enemies surround me,
My Hope when tides of sorrow rise,
My Joy when trials are abounding!
Your faithfulness, my Refuge in the night

O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer
Gracious Savior of my ruined life.
My guilt and cross laid on Your shoulders,
In my place You suffered bled and died.
You rose! The grave and death are conquered!
You broke my bonds of sin and shame!
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer
May all my days bring glory to Your Name!” ~Nathan Stiff, Sovereign Grace Music (2017)

Father, may my grateful heart and all my days issue endless praise for Your unending glory and grace.

“But You…”

“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:17-25

In this madding world, there are many buts, dichotomies that set right against wrong and ignite tension with every decision and action. We beloved apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ face realities and facts we need to be aware of, live rightly and righteously among, guard against, and work to overcome. For every warning and command we have a Helper, One who is able, and the One who, for this, is worthy of praise. (John 14:16-17)

The Lord experienced every temptation yet was without sin. He guides us in His power, gives wisdom and self-control, and so keeps us from falling. We keep on in the most holy faith by staying in the word, walking in fellowship, and pressing on to grow in biblical thinking and character. (Isaiah 28:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:1-16; Hebrews 10:24)

We are stretched, but we are fortified by God’s Spirit. We are ridiculed, but our identity is secure in Christ. We are tested, but we own resurrection power. We are ashamed or embittered, but Jesus carried all our sins to death and created us anew. We are despised by the world, but we are loved with an everlasting love. We wrestle in a dark culture, but we are its light. As God’s beloved children, we can persevere to live on the right and victorious side of every but because of and by His abounding grace. Are we reckoning this as true? (Isaiah 43:1; 53:5-6; Jeremiah 31:3; Matthew 5:11-12,14; 10:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 3:20)

How do we react to scoffers- with disdain, fear, or strong defense? How do we respond to people and principles devoid of the Spirit? What are we doing by way of spiritual disciplines to keep ourselves in the most holy faith? What evidence is there that we care for the weak while rejecting their sin? It is the Lord who equips and enables for these hard things. How robustly are we availing ourselves of His grace, insight, and strength so our motivations, intentions, and actions exalt His glory and power?

Lord, keep me alert to evil, and wholly in the holy faith. May my daily dealings in the world be a living doxology to Thee.

Why the Testimony?

“Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.

He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.” Psalm 78:1-8

As the children of God, we are called to give ear to the righteous teaching and testimony of God’s glorious deeds, might, and wonders. Why? In order to know Him, share Him, set hope in Him, obey Him, guard against stubborn rebellion, and remain steadfast and faithful. Nothing substitutes as the fuel and enabling of all these. And when we have taken in, we are are also to teach and tell. The repeated refrain of God’s testimony is vital for the spiritual health of all who are in Christ because our finicky flesh, in spite of all these, still sins and does not believe. (Psalm 78:32)

The Lord in His mercy applies the grace of the testimony to redeem us. What wonder! The word passed down takes root to develop the faith of another generation, and another, to the magnification of His glory. Truths remind us He is God and we are not, and fortify our hope in troubling times. (Psalm 42:5-6; Lamentations 3:21-24)

In what ways are we experiencing the power of the word at work in us as it convicts, molds, and supplies? Is our character being transformed from glory to glory, rude impatience giving way to patience, a cold heart glowing warm with divine love? What explicitly is God redeeming through His testimony in our lives? (Psalm 78:38-42; John 16:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 1:29; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12)

As it takes ahold of us, how are we passing it on? When do we deliberately teach God’s truths and recite His deeds to our children, our colleagues, our friends? What role models are we emulating, and becoming?

“O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart; O take and seal it;
seal it for thy courts above.” ~Robert Robinson (1758)

As a debtor to Your grace, Lord, may I be fully devoted to Your testimony, expressing in every word and way its power and glory.

Worth the Wait

“O Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
    plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
For you have made the city a heap,
    the fortified city a ruin;
the foreigners’ palace is a city no more;
    it will never be rebuilt.
Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
    cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
    a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
    a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
   like heat in a dry place.
You subdue the noise of the foreigners;
    as heat by the shade of a cloud,
    so the song of the ruthless is put down.

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
    of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
    the covering that is cast over all peoples,
    the veil that is spread over all nations.
   He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
    ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
    This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’
For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.” Isaiah 25:1-10a

The determination to praise sets the heart aright. Trudging in the mire of distresses without and within we can tend toward complaint, but exalting God turns the mind toward all that is sure and hopeful. Praising Him for the His wonderful deeds is a glad way to bide our time as we wait His promises’ fulfillment.

God’s plans formed of old are indeed faithful and sure. They come to pass in divinely-prescribed time, distances upon distances, certain and wonderful. We see His hand at present, both acting for us and withholding action in mercy. We marvel at past deeds that have brought us thus far, and look with praise to all He will continue to unfold.

When we are impatient at the wait for God’s glorious fulfillment, what do we learn of His grace and eternal perspective? In tears, longing, and hunger, would we ask for faith to trust His comfort and prepared feast? How and where will we spread the good news of God’s promises for future resolution, the redeeming of every sorrow, and the joy of our salvation? Any and all present suffering is making way for a heavenly, joyous glory that will grace our longing with a splendid Amen. (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

“Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come:
’tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.” ~John Newton (1779)

Lord, keep me eagerly, expectantly waiting for You and sharing the delights of all You are and will do according to Your promises.

Recorded and Remembered

“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. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians, while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down. On their gods also the Lord executed judgments.

“So the people of Israel set out from Rameses and camped at Succoth.  And they set out from Succoth and camped at Etham 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 they set out from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the edge of the land of Edom.

“And Aaron went up Mount Hor at the command of the Lord and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month…

“And they set out from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho… And the Lord spoke to Moses… saying,.. ‘When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, you shall drive out all the inhabitants… [and] take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you.'” Numbers 33:1-11,14-15,37-38,48,50-52

God commanded Moses to document Israel’s sojourn through the wilderness, a detailed accounting of starts and stops, highs and lows, meanderings and memorable moments, all laced with the keeping eye of their Lord. He wanted them always to remember His call and care. He knew times would arise when these were questioned, and wanted them to keep answers ready.

“We recount your wondrous deeds.” Psalm 75:1

How am I keeping track of God’s faithfulness? Where do I record, to whom do I recount His wondrous deeds? In every documentation, every telling, there is an indelible imprint on the memory that can be recalled in moments of need or doubt. The more God is seen to have worked, the more He will be trusted in the future and His fame known and praised.

“O Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
    plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” Isaiah 25:1

Lord, keep your name and remembrance the desire of my soul. May I ever make known Your might among the peoples, to Your praise and glory. (Psalm 77:11-12, 14; Isaiah 26:8)