sermon: Wandering or Pilgrimage?


John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 24-Jul-21; Sermon #1608; 66 minutes

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Nominal 'Christianity' has done a grave disservice to biblical understanding by describing the Exodus and the Israelite's subsequent journey to Canaan as a "wilderness wanderings," implying a lack of leadership. God meticulously planned the journey of ancient Israel to the Promised Land, just as He has carefully engineered the pilgrimage of God's called-out ones to His Kingdom. In both cases, God's purposes are clearly before Him. With the impending collapse of the nations of Israel, God's people must evaluate the kinds of adjustments they need to make now in order to follow in the footsteps of Joshua and Caleb rather than in the footsteps of their many peers who perished before they entered the Promised Land. Like their forebears on the Sinai, individual members of the Israel of God may, from time to time, doubt their own conversion, forgetting that the Father hand-picked them and turned over to Christ for sanctification, having predestined them for glory from the foundation of the world. God's people must realize that they are not aimlessly wandering, but are on a God-guided pilgrimage. The circuitous route ensures their safety just as it did for the ancient Israelites, keeping them safe from wars with Egypt, Philistia, and Edom. God's people, just like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 47:9), will be on a pilgrimage their entire lives, seeking a sacred place, a promised land, and a heavenly citizenship (Hebrews 11:14). The apostle Paul assures us that God intended ancient Israel's experience to provide practical examples and warnings for the Israel of God (I Corinthians 10:6). God's people must emulate the apostle Paul's example, disciplining their bodies and minds, forsaking aimless wandering, always keeping in sight the goal of God's Kingdom.




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