“Thirty-eight years passed from the time we first left Kadesh-barnea until we finally crossed the Zered Brook! By then, all the men old enough to fight in battle had died in the wilderness, as the Lord had vowed would happen. The Lord struck them down until they had all been eliminated from the community.
Israel did not have to travel 40 years to the Promised Land. It’s a trip that should have taken only a few weeks (see Deuteronomy 1:2). But the people rejected God’s love, rebelled against his authority, ignored his instructions for right living, and willfully broke their agreement with God (Exodus 19:8). For their disobedience, God led them into the wilderness until they had learned to follow him.
We often make life’s journey more difficult than necessary by disobeying God. We can benefit from the lessons God taught the Israelites though. We don’t have to repeat their mistakes. God offers his love to us if we would only accept it (Romans 8:35). God will guide our paths if we would only seek his will (Proverbs 3:6). And God promised to never abandon us, so we have no reason to fear (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Hebrews 13:5). You may find that your life is less complicated by your own sins and more rewarding if you choose to cling to God in obedience.
Have you experienced sin in your life that created more heartache than happiness? Did you find joy when you finally submitted it to God? Are there sins now that you’re holding onto? Think back to the joy that came when God freed you from earlier sins. Ask God to do that again with whatever sins you’re facing now.