“You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn now and move on” (Deut 1:6–7).
We have a terrible tendency to stay in one place or keep doing one activity longer than we should. Our meetings run long, we constantly work overtime, or we overstay a welcome. And then there’s the most significant problem of all: we ignore God’s command to leave a place, position, or role.
Change can be refreshing. But the countless decisions and the difficult and frustrating moments that accompany change can often keep us from moving forward. We become comfortable where we are, and we fear the unknown.
Indeed, the majority of people (including Christians) live seemingly meaningless lives. Most American Christians spend more hours per day doing comfortable things, like watching tv, than they do praying, reading their Bibles, or serving others (usually combined). Yet what do the elderly always tell us? “I wish I had taken more risks; if only I wasn’t so afraid.” We’re all on our way to dying. But as Christians, we’re also on our way to eternal life. Why should we limit God’s work with our fear?
In Deuteronomy 1, God called Moses to leave the mountain—a place where he’d grown comfortable. Moses’ new path would be far from easy. He was going to enter the land of the Amorites and Canaanites, who were feared warriors (Deut 1:7). He was about to risk the lives of everyone with him—men, women, and children—in the process of following God’s will. Both young and old would once again be in danger.
But God didn’t intend for Moses to remain in the wilderness; He called Moses to lead His people into the same holy land He had promised to Abraham many years before (Deut 1:8). And despite his fear, that’s what Moses did: “Then we turned and set out toward the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea, as Yahweh told me, and we went around Mount Seir for many days” (Deut 2:1).
Moses’ confidence was based on one thing: what God had spoken. May your confidence be grounded in the same thing, and may you trust God at His word.
What is God calling you to do now? What comforts is He calling you to leave behind? What have you been ignoring?
John D. Barry