I am currently preaching through the book of Exodus at our church. Most people are familiar with the Exodus story and know about Moses, the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments, etc. It is a very familiar book of the Bible. What most people may not know is what happens to God’s people after all the “major events” happen in the book of Exodus. This is where we currently are in our study.
After God’s people miraculously walk through the middle of the Red Sea, they enter the wilderness. This is where they would spend forty years wandering before they enter the Promised Land. FORTY YEARS!!! That is a long time to wait for a promise that had been given to them. In these years of wandering, God was preparing them for what they would need to do when they entered the Promised Land. He would grow, strengthen, test, and mature them during these years. They would need to follow God and God alone on their journey to glory.
As Christians, we are on a journey to glory as well. We are just passing through this world because this place is not our final destination. Believers will one day be a part of what God calls the “New Heaven and the New Earth” in Revelation 21. As Christians, we long to be with God and all our brothers and sisters in Christ in this place. In the New Heaven and New Earth, there will be no sorrow, no pain, no suffering, no sickness, no evil, no sin, and no death. We will be in the presence of God and will worship and serve him alongside all other believers for all of eternity. What a day of rejoicing that will be!
Until we get there though, we, like the Israelites, are on a journey, and on our journey, we must learn how to follow God. As I have been teaching through Exodus, here are a few things that I have learned about what it means to follow God:
First, we must listen to God carefully! If we are to follow God, we need to know what He has said. God does not just want us to entertain His words, He wants us to hear them and receive them deeply. On our journey to glory, we must pay careful attention to ALL that God has said.
Second, we must obey God completely! God is not interested in partial obedience. He demands, and more importantly, deserves, complete obedience. God is worthy of being followed because He is God and He knows what is best. When it comes to following God, we must listen to and put into practice all that He has said.
Third, we must worship and serve God exclusively! In the story of Exodus, when God’s people went into the Promised Land, they were to demolish the idols of the false gods and not worship anyone or anything other than the one true God. In other words, God did not want worship to be shared. He deserves all of our worship because He is God and there is no other. When it comes to following God today, we must not allow other gods into our life. We are to love the Lord our God with ALL of heart, soul, mind, and strength and worship Him exclusively.
Finally, we must trust God explicitly. If there was anything the Israelites needed to learn on their journey, and that Christians must learn on their journey, it is that God can be and must be trusted. God told Israel He would give them great victory, but it would come little by little and not all at once. Likewise, in our Christian life, God does not always give us the whole victory all at one time. He often gives victory little by little. He does this so that we will learn to trust Him. In our journey to glory, the road is sometimes very difficult. The journey can seem long and hard. We must remember that God is with us and will never leave or forsake us. He is our Guide, Protector, Deliverer, and Savior. As we follow Him, He will lead us all the way home to our final destination, and then we will see that the journey to glory was well worth it. Until then, hang on and keep trusting Him. As I have said before, God doesn’t always give us what we want, but He does always give us Himself…and that is enough!