You Have Compassed This Mountain Long Enough
Numbers 23:4 - Deuteronomy 4:5
I have to begin this post by telling you that I love the book of Deuteronomy.
It is probably one of my favorite books in the Old Testament. The thing I love most about this book is that it contains Moses’ thoughts on the lessons he learned from the Journey Through the Wilderness. What some might call a recap of the events we just read about in Numbers is really a book filled with tender memories as Moses looks back over the 40 year journey.
It is as if we are spending this last week with Moses before he dies, listening to him recount the memories of his life.
I have looked ahead and chosen my six favorite lessons from the memories of Moses…one for today, and five more for every day next week. I hope these next few days might become some of your most favorite reading so far. Today's lesson is about mountains.
Have you ever experienced a mountain moment?
In Deuteronomy chapter two, Moses talks about how Israel had journeyed for almost 40 years. He reminds the people how they took their journey into the wilderness by way of the Red Sea and compassed Mount Seir for many days. Finally the Lord spoke to Moses and said, “Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.” (Deuteronomy 2:3).
I am intrigued by this thought.
In my mind I can almost hear the Lord saying, “You have journeyed through this place long enough. It is time to walk away from it. Leave it behind now. Let it go.”
Have you ever experienced a mountain moment?
A moment when you faced an obstacle that you couldn’t seem to move past? Life is full of mountain moments. Within those moments we pray for direction, seek for understanding, and long for the promised end.
Our mountain moments may cause reason for mourning; we may plead with the Lord to give us strength. Sometimes those moments seem to last forever. The Lord allows time for mourning, for growing, for stretching, for gaining strength. But there will come a day, in the midst of these experiences, when we will hear the quiet whisper from the Lord, “Ye have compassed this mountain long enough.”
The Lord told Moses that the walking away from this mountain wouldn’t necessarily be easy. In fact, others would lie in the path. His counsel was clear: “Meddle not with them” (Deuteronomy 2:5).
It seems that the Lord is teaching an important principle here.
Sometimes we have to let go of what is holding us back in order to reach the promised end. When the Spirit prompts us to move on, we must find the strength to move past the painful things that seem to overwhelm and constrain us. This might require fighting for what we know is right. Maybe it will require allowing the healing to come. Sometimes it requires forgiveness. Always we must find courage.
There is another important lesson we learn from this chapter. It is one of my favorite lessons in the whole book of Deuteronomy and perhaps in the entire Old Testament.
Throughout this mountain moment, this forty-year journey through the wilderness, the people of Israel had not traveled alone. Moses reminds them, “For the Lord thy God…knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing” (Deuteronomy 2:7).
Think about the mountain moments you have journeyed through, the great wilderness places of your life. Comfort fills my heart when I realize the Lord knows about the mountain, and He knows the walking through the wilderness.
And not only does He see us walking through, He is there with us.
Beneath the mountain. Within the wilderness.
Looking back at the mountain and wilderness moments of my life with a perspective focused on Him, I realize a powerful truth: As empty and heavy as my heart was, I lacked nothing. The Lord filled the empty places and lifted my heavy heart.
Often the mountain moments and wilderness places of our life provide for some of the greatest miracles. Within the journey we are able to witness moments with the Lord, if our eyes are only open to see.
The chapter of scripture ends with two important messages: “Now rise up, said I, and get you over,” and “Rise ye up, take your journey.” (Deuteronomy 2:13, 24).
Perhaps the only way we can move through the hardest days and on to the promised end is to follow this counsel and rise above them. Most often we will not have the power to do this on our own. The Lord knows how to lift. He has the capacity to strengthen us until we can move forward again on our own.
We must remember, the Lord is completely aware of our journey through every great wilderness.
He will guide us beyond the mountain moments.
He will be with us every step of the way.
He will make sure that we lack nothing.