Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Why 40 years?

Earlier this morning, I was trying to find some information about the length of time it would take to make the journey from the Red Sea to the promised land for Israel (apparently it would be about a month if you made a direct route), and I found this video about a hiking trail running from the red sea, through israel, and ending at the border of Lebanon.

Of course, we all know it took about 40 years for Israel to make the journey, and during that time God led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Why would God be so inefficient with time. I mean Israel gathered everything and left Egypt in the night. They moved so quickly, they couldn't even wait for their bread to rise. So why would God have people take such a long time in the wilderness.

The big answer is God is about a relationship. He's about a relationship with each one of us, and with all of us together. He's about us learning to live together, and he's about us learning to trust Him. Imagine the level of trust you might have if God had delivered you without going hungry, growing thirsty, or letting your clothes and shoes wear out in 40 years. Maybe you would know His love in a greater magnitude than you would if you had walked through the wilderness in a month.

God takes time with us just like he took time in Israel. Relationships take time. People take time. Tonight, I'm supposed to talk about the idea that God wants more than just Sunday at our 17three college and post-college summer event tonight. I think maybe part of the reason why we see such a breakdown in our families and a lack of commitment in our relationships in the west is because we have grown so independent of one another, and soooo busy, that it is hard to take the time to walk with and care for another human being. Sure, we all like the idea of loving others, but when it comes to actually doing it, it's another story altogether.

I wonder how many teachers get their degree only to find out that every student doesn't just want to learn everything they have to share. I wonder how many nurses study their field because they love the idea of helping people, but then find that helping people isn't all that easy.

THis week, take some time from the business of your schedule, and prioritize other people. Actually physically be with them if you can. Sit down with someone and have a meal. Talk to each other. Go and care for the sick, the downtrodden, and the broken hearted.

Go and learn through a relationship what it is like to love and to trust. And of course, spend some quality time with God. God took forty years to cultivate a loving and trusting relationship with Israel. Give God your time, and grow in your trust of Him. As you do, you will find your capacity to love and grow in the trust of others will increase as well.

And, as John Piper points out in the video below, people are simply fascinating. They are made in the image of God, and they are filled with little interesting nuances that reflect that image to others. Take time to make some time for others.


steve and amy said...

Nice post Billy. I know the guy that made this video. He's actually Jenna C's boyfriend, Dan. Did you ever meet him?

Anyways, I hope you're well.

chanchanchepon said...


Yeah, I met him at LT. He seemed like a pretty cool dude. So he made the Piper video or the Israel vid?

Hope you are well as well!