Category Archives: Promised Lands

How Far to the Ends of the Earth?

Google Maps puts the journey from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea at just under six hours, but that’s in a car. Moses reckoned that his fledgling nation could have managed about twenty miles a day—not bad for a big crowd with flocks. It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb [Mount Sinai] by the way of Mount […]

Stairs are Heaven’s Way

My wife and I had a strenuous honeymoon. We drove from England to Switzerland and completed a series of day hikes in the Alps. One excursion to a glacier required us to ascend a forty-foot rock face on rope ladders and steel steps. Swinging in the breeze on the ropes was a little nerve-racking but […]

The Hill Country

When Moses dispatched twelve spies to the hill country of Canaan, he gave them a checklist for their observations: Are the people strong/weak? Are they few/many? Is the land good/bad? Are the dwellings in camps/fortresses? Are there trees or not? “And while you are there, bring back some fruit.” (Num. 13:17-20) The spies returned with […]

Bored by God’s Blessings

My father had a phrase held in reserve for whenever my whining became unbearable, “Stop bellyaching!” As a child, I had a distorted perspective on life. Trivial disciplines such as bedtime and healthy eating seemed cruel and unusual punishments. The nation of Israel behaved immaturely too; they became bored by God’s blessings and complained. Who […]

Boundaries and Horizons

Have you ever wondered why the Bible includes long sections about geographical boundaries and horizons? At first glance, they seem about as interesting as a property title document. Take Numbers 34:8-9 for example: You shall draw a line from Mount Hor to the Lebo-hamath, and the termination of the border shall be at Zedad; and […]

Greater Than We Think

Human nature tends to put a self-centered gloss on God’s words. When God calls us or imparts vision to us, we interpret it based on personal costs and benefits. Our imagination struggles to see beyond our own lives and limitations. However, God’s purposes are greater than we think. Let’s consider the classic promise of God […]

Wilderness Signs

From a comfortable chair, wilderness signs can be entertaining; at the trail-head hikers should take them seriously. Here’s a selection: No parking next to the trail-head. Pay attention to signs. Bear management area; party of four or more recommended. Stash your food and trash. Trail re-routed due to landslide. Enter trails at your own risk. STOP—Assess hiking fitness. […]

Out of Egypt

Dodge City once had a reputation for wickedness. Whiskey flowed and gangs dominated city politics. That’s when the phrase “getting out of Dodge” was coined. Bad places are the easiest to leave and Israel wanted to get out of Egypt. The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in […]