Daily Devotion for November 16, 2016

'Journeyed by Stages'

Exodus 17:1-7 NAS
Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim...

...camped at Rephidim....there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?”

When I came across verse 17:1 of Exodus today, the “journeyed by stages” phrase caught my attention. Specifically, it reminded me how we Christians journey “by stages” in our walk with the Lord. That is, we “journeyed by stages” toward faith in our loving Savior, we journey “by stages” away from our old “wilderness” ways, we journey “by stages” towards increased trust of the Lord, we journey “by stages” towards increased knowledge and love of our wonderful Father, we journey “by stages” towards increased faith, obedience, and willingness to serve our righteous King—all this is “according to the command of the Lord”... and that is wonderful. I love how the Lord doesn't leave us as “baby” Christians, folks. “According to the command of the Lord,” we journey (with Him!) “by stages,” becoming more and more like His Son...

As for the rest of the passage, it also caught my attention. Unfortunately, it served to humbly remind me that we Believers don't always like the places we have to journey “according to the command of the Lord.” That is, many times we “grumble” and fight against the dry, hard places He leads us to “camp” (just like “the sons of Israel!”)! Sadly, when we grumble and complain and look back, it simply shows we have taken our eyes off of Him and off of everything He has already done (just like the Israelites did). Moreover, it shows we have forgotten 1) our Father KNOWS where He is going with us and what He is doing with us, 2) EVERY PLACE the Lord takes us has journey-in-stages purpose, 3) EVERY PLACE He has us journey, He provides (physically and spiritually!), 3) EVERY PLACE the Lord leads us, He is with us, and 4) He is ALWAYS leading us for His glory and our best good—lovingly and patiently growing us “in stages,” so we look and act more like His Son on our journey home...

Heavenly Father, we praise You today for the way You have us Believers journey “by stages!” We praise You today for your patience with us—THANK YOU for having purpose and provision in everyplace You “command” for us to journey, camp, and go! Enable us—through Your Spirit—to keep our eyes on Your Son, with hearts steadied by Your Word. We know we journey with You, Lord, and you are lovingly growing us and leading us home...

AMEN!!!

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