Deuteronomy 2:7-8 The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. So we went on past our brothers the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. We turned from the Arabah road, which comes up from Elath and Ezion Geber, and traveled along the desert road of Moab.
If having one child makes you a parent and having two children makes you a referee, then I don’t know what Moses must have felt like leading this nation of Israel. Leading Israel was something that Moses initially responded to with trepidation and fear. He had plenty of excuses … he wasn’t qualified, he wasn’t knowledgable, he did not believe he could do it, he wasn’t equipped to do it, and he didn’t want to do it. Hiding his face before that burning bush, with his sandals off, Moses asked God if someone else could fulfill the calling that God had given to him. Many Christians today assume that same position, believing God, yet resisting His calling for their lives. I believe the reason for that is similar to the reason Moses first put up roadblocks. Moses felt hindered by his past failure and fearful of the future. He needed to learn to see life through the lens of the gospel.
The tense of these two verses in Deuteronomy is not that blessing has been lost, but that blessing is promised, and not just a little blessing, as if there has been some forfeit but blessing just as God has said He will bless. Israel had refused to enter the Promised Land, and God had declared they would wander for the next 38 years until that generation of unfaith had died off. But it’s important to notice here that the overall tone of their years of punishment is God’s provision and care. God did not leave them and He did not become distant from them. Instead, God walked with them all those years and Moses is able to tell Israel now that despite their failure, God took care of them.
On a national and an individual level, God not only took care of them and they lacked nothing, but He refined them into who they are now as they are poised to enter into Canaan, strong and capable, yet reliant on Him. This is the generation that would enter into the Promised Land. The previous failure to enter the land had not caused God’s promises to fail, but had given rise to new opportunity for faith to be fostered.
It would be good for us to challenge our perspective when we feel as if we’ve blown it big time. And we don’t want to make little out of a fall, we should be heartbroken over sin in our lives. But let’s not listen to the accusations of Satan, either, because we have an advocate who is Christ Jesus. He alone is the Sacrifice that atones for our sins.
Let’s see ourselves through the lens of the gospel, rather than by the accusations of our enemy. We may feel as if we need to beat ourselves up over failures. But, just as there is no way we can merit our salvation, there is no amount of self beating we can do that would pay for our sins. Instead, let’s accept our discipline from the Lord as from our loving Heavenly Father and let’s allow God to use our failure to foster faith in us. We are reminded that ONLY by the grace of God, past failures do not define our future.