40 Days to Jerusalem
The New Exodus Begins ‚Äì Day 22
Weekly Theme: Through the Wilderness
Today‚Äôs Meditation: The Church ‚Äì Wandering in the Wilderness
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: ‚ÄúThe people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.‚Äù 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did‚Äîand in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did‚Äîand were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did‚Äîand were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don‚Äôt fall‚Äù (1 Corinthians 10:1-12)!
‚ÄúEnter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it‚Äù (Matthew 7:13-14).
Into the wilderness went the Children of Israel. For 40 years they followed a meandering path that moved nowhere fast. Encampment after encampment marked their snail paced journey. Once the old generation had passed away, the new generation, with their new leader, Joshua, crossed over the Jordan and entered the Promised Land.
As we have discovered in Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18, Jesus came as the New Moses to lead the New ‚ÄúExodus from Jerusalem‚Äù (Luke 9:31). Jesus began the New Exodus by dying on the cross and through His resurrection on the third day. How do we join Jesus on this New Exodus? Our connection to Jesus‚Äô death and resurrection is seen so clearly in baptism. Romans 6:4 states, ‚ÄúWe were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.‚Äù If we want to follow Jesus, we must die to ourselves and receive new life in Jesus! This reminds us of the crossing of the Red Sea. As the Egyptian army died in the torrential flood, and with them the old way of life, the Children of Israel came through the waters to a new life. As they emerged on the other shore, they were headed for the Promised Land, even though it would take forty years!
After Jesus‚Äô baptism, He was led into the wilderness for forty days, where He was tempted by Satan. After the Red Sea, the Israelites would also be led into the wilderness and tempted by Satan ‚Äì tempted to worship a golden calf! Following Jesus‚Äô example, after our baptism, we join Him in the New Exodus and move into the wilderness of life. And, just like Jesus was confronted by Satan and His evil enticements, we also face, ‚Äúour enemy the devil,‚Äùwho, ‚Äúprowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.‚Äù We must avoid the mistakes of the Children of Israel, and instead, follow the example of the Lord Jesus.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10, that those following Jesus have the benefit of the experiences of the Israelites to help keep us on the straight and narrow path. Paul teaches us that the events of the first Exodus serve as examples to us so that we will not ‚Äúset our hearts on evil things, as they did.‚Äù Paul goes on to say that these things happened to them to be more than examples, but also warnings to us. We had better learn the lessons they taught us, or we could also fall!
What caused the Children of Israel to fall? They failed to remember what God had done to save them, to provide for them, and to sustain them. He had sent a deliverer. The Lord had provided for them a pathway to freedom and new life. He gave them provisions for the journey ‚Äì manna, quail and water from the Rock! God had even selected a Homeland for them ‚Äì a place flowing with milk and honey.
What did God require of them? He wanted them to trust, love and worship Him. Instead, the Children of Israel turned away from the God who had saved them and turned back to Pharaoh and the old ways of the Egyptians ‚Äì including bowing down to their gods. They had fallen prey to Satan‚Äôs temptation. Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and that first generation of Israelites was on it!! Jesus, on the other hand, overcame Satan‚Äôs slimy offers. He has shown us the Way. Which path will we follow as we go through the wilderness? Our choice is a matter of life and death!
Prayers for Today
Praise God for saving us, providing for us and sustaining us
Give thanks to Jesus for being our deliverer and leading us on the narrow road that leads to life
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any unconfessed sin
Repent, confess and ask the Lord to forgive you
Receive His forgiveness
Ask the Lord to help you remember who God is, and what He has done for us
Ask the Lord to help you overcome the temptations of the evil one
This is what the Lord says: ‚ÄúStand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls...Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths. They made them walk in byways, on roads not built up‚Äù (Jeremiah 6:15-17a, 18:15).