April 23, 2010
In Tents Again
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, as in the days of your appointed feasts."
Hosea 12:9 (NIV)
Many times in the Bible we read about God giving us direction, pushing us forward and providing us with a future. But have you ever felt like He has taken you backwards instead? Have you ever wondered why?
In today's verse we read about Him telling the Israelites that they were going to take a few steps backwards. They had gotten out of Egypt, moved on with their lives, stepped towards a future, but forgot their God in the process. He determined that the best thing He could do was to take them back to the days they lived in tents, back to the time they celebrated feasts and remembered His goodness. A time, the Bible notes, they were filled with indescribable joy in spite of their surroundings.
God has had to take me back many times, I am sad to say. I get in forward motion, so focused on what lies ahead, that I forget what He has done for me in the past. Living in fast forward gives me little time to rewind, to replay what He has done on my behalf, to rejoice over His sovereignty. Sometimes He has to take me back—not because He is punishing me, but because He knows how spiritually forgetful I can be. He simplifies my life for me, weeding out the distractions so I can refocus on Him. He puts me in "tents" again so I can remember where I started.
Maybe today you are feeling like you are in "tents" again financially or professionally. Maybe your marriage seems to be in "tents" again. Maybe you are going through something with a child that feels reversed when what you really want is to move ahead. Let God take you back, and trust that forward motion doesn't always mean growth.
Sometimes going backwards is what He knows is best for you. Trust the direction He is taking you. Settle into those "tents" and look for Him to dwell among you as He did with the Israelites. Instead of grumbling and complaining about where He has you, choose to feel His nearness and soak in His love. Sometimes He puts us in "tents" again because there is something He once taught us that we need to relearn. What might that be for you?
Dear Lord, I don't like going backwards. I want to move ahead but I know that isn't always what's best for me. I trust the direction You are taking me, even if it means going back. I want to draw closer to You and I trust Your guidance. Please reveal Yourself to me in "tents" again. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Think of a time when God took you backwards. What did you learn from that time? Did you draw closer to God? Journal about that experience and write down today's verse.
Do you accept when God takes you backwards? Do you seek to learn whatever it is He is trying to teach you or do you rebel against where He has you?
Nehemiah 8:17, "The whole company that had returned from exile built booths and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated like this. And their joy was very great." (NIV)
Exodus 29:46, "They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God." (NIV)
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