“It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.”
Deuteronomy begins with a recap of Israel’s history, from Mount Sinai, to the border of the Promised Land. Moses begins by reminding the people this journey that has taken a lifetime, should have taken less than two weeks.
After camping at Sinai and receiving the Word of God, the people were commanded to make their way to the Promised Land. They were told that they had “dwelt long enough in the wilderness.” Eleven days later, they found themselves camped at Kadesh Barnea. Instead of walking by faith, they were crippled with fear. As a result of refusing to obey the Lord, they found themselves stuck in the wilderness some 38 years later. Not a lot is known about those years in the wilderness, but one verse gives a sobering commentary,
“You have skirted this mountain long enough; turn northward.”
For 38 years, Israel walked in circles. They refused to go where God wanted them to go; seeing the obstacles rather than the power of God. For 38 years, they remained in the same station of life, using their weakness, and the strength of the giants as an excuse. It is quite interesting, as Moses recounts the event, he speaks of how the Moabites and the Ammonites both encountered giants, just like the Anakim, but they were not deterred. These unbelievers conquered the issues of life that the children of Israel were afraid to face.
I think it is high time we took seriously at the exhortation of Moses. We have spent enough of our life living in the wilderness, in partial obedience to the Lord. It is time to stop walking in circles, continuing to struggle with the same sins over and over. It is time to face our giants head on, and in the power of the Spirit, overcome the struggles of the flesh.