Why did God give the Israelites the law of Moses while they were in the desert? Why did he give them instruction about mildew on house walls when they lived in tents and about gathering grapes when they were nomadic shepherds?
Was it because his intention was that they should very soon reach the Jordan cross over and settle in the Promised Land? They needed to be prepared before they scattered and settled in their new tribal areas. But things didn't work out. Moses sent twelve spies across the Jordan and God's plan to attack was outvoted 10-2. And so the Israelites had a law that was somewhat irrelevant for the next 40 years.
Is God in control or isn't he? How come human beings outvoted him? Our understanding of our relationship to God in this respect is so important as it affects the way we live our lives. I am often led to believe that we should be passive participants in God's plan - shadows who flit from place to place in utter faithfulness but are ultimately impotent. Like a small child sitting on his parent's lap 'driving' with his parent's hands over his on the steering wheel. We thinks we are in control, but actually God has it all sorted without us. It will all work out ok, because God is really running the show.
The story of the law and the promised land tells something different. Although everything did work out in the end, a whole generation was lost because of the ten spies who did not have the courage to step into new territory. I don't believe that as God's people we are helpless shadows. Rather we are active fighters expected to take the initiative and to step into enemy territory. We are expected to be bold enough to vote for God when there is a decision to be made. This doesn't mean to go to the other extreme and believe that we are in the battle alone and that it all depends on us. We need to fully grasp that God and people are partners in the struggle to bring about his kingdom. We need to be active and courageously so. We also need to trust God and allow him to be the source of our energy.
The stationing committee of previous post has a tough task. The Israelites are hearing the words of the spies and struggling with decisions. They need to be courageous. They need to trust. At the end of the day they want to vote together with God.
And me? I've got to learn both that courage and that trust . . . sometimes I think I have a long way to go! But God is good, above all things.