Daily D – Deuteronomy 1:2-3
Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the LORD had commanded him to say. DEUTERONOMY 1:2-3 (NLT)
Taking the easy way isn’t the easy way.
Shortcuts most often require double the effort.
Short cuts make long delays. – J. R. R. Tolkein
There are no shortcuts to success. – Annika Sorenstam
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills
A shortcut is the longest distance between two points. – Charles Issawi
If you take shortcuts, you get cut short. – Gary Busey
There is no shortcut to achievement. – George Washington Carver
God made a way where there was no way. He made a way out of Egypt. He made a way through the Red Sea on dry ground. He made a way through the trackless wilderness. He made water come from rocks. He made manna come from heaven. He made footwear and clothing that did not wear out. He provided a fire by night to illumine the darkness and to remind everyone of his presence and provision. He provided a cloud by day to protect them from the sun and to remind everyone that he was leading their journey.
Even so, people complained. Simple complaints turned into mutinous rebellion. One shortcut after another was attempted. Every single one was costly and destructive. As the Apostle Paul wrote, that forty-year journey and all the struggles Israel experienced in the wilderness were recorded for our instruction. Part of that instruction is that there is no shortcut to honoring God and blessing the world.
There is a shorter distance between where we are and where we want to be. However, it is so infrequently chosen that it seems almost too good to be true.
Notice how long, nay short, Israel’s trip could have been. “Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir.” However, like some college students, it took them much longer to get from Point A to Point B. They skipped B and went to C, D, E, and so on before they finally exhausted themselves and returned to where they got off the path in the first place.
The shorter distance between where we are and where we want to be is called obedience. This requires trust. We have to trust God that he is as loving as he says he is and that he would never lead us the wrong way. We have to obey his instructions.
May we sing together?
Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey
(J. H. Sammis, Trust and Obey, Hope Publishing Co, 1921)
God knows the way, shows the way, and goes the way with us. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He will be with us to the very end, which as it turns out, is the beginning.
Maybe you have heard that I like baseball. In the movie Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) has discovered the blessing of obedience. He is reunited with his long-dead father for a game of catch. Before his dad leaves, they discuss heaven. Ray asks his dad, “Is there a heaven?” His father responds, “Oh Yeah. It’s the place where dreams come true.” (Field of Dreams, dir. Phil Alden Robinson, 1989; Los Angeles: Universal Pictures)
If you and I want to make our dreams come true, then we place one obedient foot in front of another and walk in sync with God. That may sound daunting. True adventure always does. Right now we are confined to our homes for the most part. Consider it basecamp. Everest awaits. We will wait while God says wait. We will move when God says move. Eleven days from now, we will be glad we did. Then we will step into the next great adventure.
Trust and Obey. Now there is a song for our time. There is a song to sing. There is a song to live in this extraordinary season of our lives.
What’s your next step of obedience? Why would you waste everyone’s time with shortcuts?
I will take the next step of obedience trusting that God’s way is better than mine.
Our Father, sometimes life feels like we are back in kindergarten learning pre-elementary truths all over again. Help us here and now to finally learn how to trust you and obey you. Remind us of all your demonstrations of trustworthy provision throughout the days of our lives and across history. Remind us of the blessings of obedience. Remind us as well of the complications of shortcuts and self-centeredness. Remind us that the shortest route through our present difficulties lies in trust and obedience so that we do not harm ourselves and others. Lead us. Deliver us from evil. Amen.
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Psalm 23:3, 4 He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. (CSB)
Daniel 5:11 “There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the days of your predecessor he was found to have insight, intelligence, and wisdom like that of the gods. Your predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, mediums, Chaldeans, and diviners. (CSB)
Daniel 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and mediums in his entire kingdom. (CSB)