While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. Joshua 5:10-12
I imagine after 40 years of wandering in the desert, with all the emotional ups and downs, and their time of slavery in Egypt, many of the people may have placed their hope in a new life in the Promised Land. How could you not? Hearing phrases like ‘flowing with milk and honey’ and ‘you will be my people and I will be your God’ couldn’t help but cause them to believe in a bright future. Plenty of food and a personal God? Hard to imagine a better time and place for them.
While stepping into new lives in the Promised Land would certainly mean life change for everyone, I believe it’s important to consider the changes they’d already experienced. In Egypt. In a short period of time, they went from deep and harsh oppression to freedom. I’m certain they had a sense of euphoria, at least until they looked over their collective shoulders and saw Pharaoh and his army bearing down on them. The terror they probably felt was replaced once again by joy as the waters closed up over their pursuers. God saved them from certain destruction. And, change would be the name of the game in the desert. Things like living in tents, eating Manna, their worship, it all changed. These changes sometimes prompted serious arguments with Moses, Aaron, and ultimately, God. And, these arguments were sometimes deadly.
Like the Hebrews’ world, our world is experiencing change. Covid-19, the violence in some cities, and forest fires have led to big changes for many. Somehow, we’ve come to believe life shouldn’t change. Like the Hebrews in the desert, we complain about how life isn’t what it used to be. These changes can help us lean more on Christ, less on self, and reflect his grace and mercy to those around us. This change can bring us to the place where God’s Kingdom can flourish and God’s glory can abound. Surrendering ourselves to Christ is paramount.
South Fellowship has experienced quite a bit of change over the last year or so. We now have new leadership in place, most likely leading to more change. This would be a great time to reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re at. As we move into this new era at South, we should embrace change, grieve loss, and continue to present ourselves to others as reflections of God and his Kingdom.
By Rich Obrecht