Have you ever been on a long journey? That feeling of relief when you finally get there, or travelling home, when you step through your own front door.
The Israelites have made it. They have crossed the Jordan and made it back. The wilderness wanderings are over. They are home.
9 The Lord told Joshua, “It was a disgrace for my people to be slaves in Egypt, but now I have taken away that disgrace.” So the Israelites named the place Gilgal,and it still has that name.
10 Israel continued to camp at Gilgal in the desert near Jericho, and on the fourteenth day of the same month, they celebrated Passover.
11-12 The next day, God stopped sending the Israelites manna to eat each morning, and they started eating food grown in the land of Canaan. They ate roasted grain and thin bread made of the barley they had gathered from nearby fields.
Their disgrace at being slaves in Egypt is gone. They are no longer reliant on manna, they can eat crops grown in the land they are in. Manna was for wandering, when they couldn’t grow their own crops, when there was nothing else to eat. That God has stopped sending the manna signifies that they are a settled people again, a people with a place to call home.
They can heave a huge sigh of relief. A new life is beginning.
As we reflect during lent, of a time in the wilderness, it is good to know that there comes a time when the wilderness will end, when a time of hardship will be over – that there will be a time when we will return home. A time when we will no longer have to survive on manna, God-given as it is, but will be able to enjoy crops grown in our own soil again.
To me, that is a powerful symbol.
Thank you Lord,
that though we may wander the wilderness,
reliant only on what you give us,
we will come home,
return to a land of growth;
a place though
still dependent on you,
we will be able to use our own crops again.
We will go from wandering and wondering,
to stability and fertility in our lives