Deuteronomy 1-3, Mark 10
On the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, Moshe spoke to the people of Isra’el, reviewing everything Adonai had ordered him to tell them.
“I answered you, ‘Don’t be fearful, don’t be afraid of them. Adonai your God, who is going ahead of you, will fight on your behalf, just as he accomplished all those things for you in Egypt before your eyes, and likewise in the desert, where you saw how Adonai your God carried you, like a man carries his child, along the entire way you traveled until you arrived at this place. Yet in this matter you don’t trust Adonai your God, even though he went ahead of you, seeking out places for you to pitch your tents and showing you which way to go, by fire at night and by a cloud during the day.’
Deuteronomy 1:3 & 29-33
For Adonai your God has blessed you in everything your hands have produced. He knows that you have been traveling through this vast desert; these forty years Adonai your God has been with you; and you have lacked nothing.’
“Also at that time I gave this order to Y’hoshua: ‘Your eyes have seen everything that Adonai your God has done to these two kings. Adonai will do the same to all the kingdoms you encounter when you cross over. Don’t be afraid of them, because Adonai your God will fight on your behalf.’
People were bringing children to him so that he might touch them, but the talmidim rebuked those people. However, when Yeshua saw it, he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me, don’t stop them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Yes! I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it!” And he took them in his arms, laid his hands on them, and made a b’rakhah over them.
Every time I read Deuteronomy, it becomes one of my favorite books. I love these last words of Moses, these reminders, warnings, and encouragements, right before he passes the torch to Joshua who will then lead the people into the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 1:31 is one of my favorite verses in scripture, perhaps even one I would consider a life verse:
And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place. (NLT)
That picture of God carrying us through the wildernesses of life to bring us to Himself is so intimate and loving! How He went before us, seeking out the places for us to “pitch our tents” and “showing us which way to go.” In Chapter 2, Moses says that God knows that the people have been wandering in the wilderness for forty years, and yet God was with them and they lacked nothing. Nothing that they needed. God provided completely for their needs…and who is more familiar with our needs than the One Who created us?
It’s easy to be unaware of all the ways that God is sovereignly directing our lives, even in the seasons where we ourselves are not really following Him. I journaled about this last year when I read through Deuteronomy, but as I’m getting ready to write out a life map for our re:engage group at church, this verse just really encourages me. It calls me to really take a close look at my life, the hills and valleys, to see all the ways God has carried me. All the “but Gods” that are fingerprints of Him redirecting, protecting, and providing in ways that I didn’t realize at the time.
And that is why I think Jesus is so indignant in Mark 10 when the disciples begin to hinder the children from coming to Him. Jesus knows that it is only through child-like faith that people can enter the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 23, Jesus cries out to the city, ““O Jerusalem, Jerusalem—you are the city that murders your prophets! You are the city that stones the very messengers who were sent to deliver you! So many times I have longed to gather a wayward people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings—but you were too stubborn to let me.” (TPT)
God wants faith that is trusting, dependent, and reliant upon the Him. Faith that will allow Him to provide for our needs, direct our steps, and carry us in His arms because we know that we are completely helpless and hopeless on our own. So Jesus gathers the children into His arms and blesses them, just the way God gathers us into His loving arms. Our Good Father, Who desires that we let go of our control, of our lack of trust, and fall into His strong arms that are able to carry us through this life and bring us to our eternal inheritance. AMEN!