“The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negeb and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.‘
Deuteronomy 1:6-8 ESV
Deuteronomy begins with an address from Moses that recounts the wilderness journey beginning at Horeb. It was after the exodus from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea that the Israelites initially ended up camped at Horeb near Mount Sinai; and they were at Horeb for almost a year. During that year God met with Moses those 40 days and 40 nights, God gave the ten commandments, and God provided the instructions for and the time to build the tabernacle. Yet Horeb was not the place God wanted the Israelites to stay; it was just one stop on the journey to the Promise Land.
In his address Moses reminds the Israelites of this when he recounts the initial part God’s instructions at Mount Sinai: You have stayed long enough at this mountain. In other words, God began His command to leave with the reminder that Sinai was part of the plan but not the fulfillment of the promise. They had been there long enough for God to do what needed to be done, but it was now time to move on. Yes, God had had a purpose for the pause, but it was indeed only a pause, not an end.
And this is the lesson I see for me and for all of us. Where we are right now is where we are supposed to be right now, but there may come a time we hear God say, “You have stayed long enough on this mountain.” A time will come when we’ve stayed long enough for God to do all His desire. We’ve stayed long enough to gather the strength or learn the lesson or gain the knowledge.
Whatever God’s plan for us is, when we’ve stayed long enough, God will call us to leave where we are to move forward into the next thing, and regardless of our feelings toward our current situation, we must be willing to trust God when He says it’s time to move.
Now for some of us, our current mountain may be a place we love; it may be safe, inviting, and comfortable. Yet, although safe is nice, and although I enjoy comfort as much as the next person, if God says go, we must trust there is something else He has for us—something designed to give Him the glory He deserves. For others our current mountain may be the place nightmares are made of–a place we’d love to leave as soon as possible. Well, take heart, you will one day hear your Father call, “You have stayed long enough” as He leads you into the next place He has for you–another place He will use to guide you into a closer walk with Him.
God had great plans for the Israelites, and God has great plans for you, too. Although sometimes God’s plan requires us to stay put for a while, the time will come when God has done all He wills in the spot we are in, so He’ll call us out of where we are and into where He wants us to be. I encourage you to trust Him in this today. Trust God has plans for you beyond what you could ever plan for yourself. Whether His plans call you out of your comfort zone or away from your trials, you can trust Him when you hear, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey…” For when God leads you out, He doesn’t leave you alone; He also whispers, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 ESV).