Invitation in the Wilderness

Out in the desert, as the children of Israel began to pack up and move on from Sinai, Moses gave an invitation that still echoes through all the generations to us, right where we are today. And though he was the great leader of the wandering nation, this is not a command of a leader but an intimate invitation of brother to brother, sister to sister, child of God to wandering soul.

One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, “We are on our way to the place the LORD promised us, for he said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the LORD has promised wonderful blessings for Israel.” (Numbers 11:29)

Moses had married a Midianite woman, someone outside the lineage of Abraham. The Midianites were people of the desert, and we do find out later that Moses also had a practical reason for inviting his brother-in-law to travel with them—Hobab knew the wilderness and places to camp. (Can you imagine trying to find a camp site for two to three million people?) But that does not lessen the power of this invitation.

“We are on our way to the place the LORD promised to give us.

We are on our way to the Promised Land. And for us, that does not only mean a life with God someday in a new heaven and new earth. It means life with God now, building our lives on His promises, moving ahead by faith in those promises, and learning both the sweetness and the power of our inheritance as His children. That’s the land flowing with milk and honey we seek today—and He’s promised to give it to us! His presence is constant and always guides us, like the cloud and the pillar of fire. We are on our way!

Come with us …

Jesus says “Come. Come to me; I’ll give you rest. Come and live in freedom. Come and I’ll give you new life.” As He lives in us, we open our arms and say, “Come.” Whether it is to a stumbling sister, to a wanderer in the wilderness who knows nothing of the family of God, or simply spoken as an encouraging word on the day a brother feels tired, we say, “Come, we travel together.”

…and we will treat you well,

Spirit, help us live this! We are all in great need of grace and mercy. And as children of God, we are now Christ’s representatives to the world and each other. We’re also called His high priests, His ambassadors, and Scriptures say, We speak for Christ … We are part of His work in this world–and He does not break the bruised reed or put out the flickering candle. He even washed Judas’s feet, knowing that within hours the man would betray Him. And by the power of the Spirit of Christ living in me, I want to treat you well, no matter who you are, what you are, or how you treat me. Because… His grace is amazing.

…for the LORD has promised wonderful blessings for [His people].”

As I type, my fingers suddenly cannot find words. How do we cover, in one short paragraph, the wonderful blessings the Lord has promised us? Scripture gives us many of His promises, often in simple language we humans can understand. But life in our Promised Land turns out to be beyond anything we have imagined or think possible, full of hope and power and surprises and amazement—and the very presence of the Almighty God of the universe.

Christ now living in this world through us wants this call to go out to every soul our lives touch. Encourage struggling and weary sisters and brothers, and give the invitation to all those outside the family of God—

We are on our way to the place the Lord promised us.
Come with us.
We’ll treat you well,
for the Lord promises wonderful blessings.

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