When an issue continually rears its ugly head in a situation, have you heard the expression, “I don’t want to keep going around the mountain”. This phrase comes from a reference in scripture from Deuteronomy 2:2-3 (NIV) 2 Then the Lord said to me, 3 “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.
Our struggles can be compared to those of the Israelites who were held captive as slaves for many years by the Egyptians. God released the Israelites from slavery and led them through the desert even though there was a shorter route to the Promised Land.
These scriptures say it best, Exodus 13:17-18 (NIV) 17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. [a] The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
Going around the mountain is a phrase used by some to refer to how our struggles keep repeating themselves. Happening time and time again and we respond to them the same way.
Why did God have the Israelites travel this route?
To refine them - to put them under pressure to see how willing they would be to ‘go the distance’ and trust him.
To travel around the mountain - to ‘get through’ the issues he wanted to teach them so they could find the Promise Land and be joyful to arrive and have ‘made it through’ the trials. To arrive to the place he wanted them to be.
It was not just the getting to the destination; it was the journey, the journey of trusting God!
Going around the mountain is not for punishment even though it feels like it is. It’s a trek, a time spent to go through and go around, getting into our minds what God wants to work out in us.
It is a time to truly understand things within ourselves. The many different ‘camps’ or the times he has us stop are the times when we stop to ‘work on’ and ‘work out’ flaws, issues and negatives within us to help us get to where he wants us to be.
In studying and reflecting on the book of Exodus and how the Israelites wandered in the wilderness is interesting and perplexing. Forty years it took to make a ten day journey.
It is a story of God communicating to an entire community about many life lessons; trust, thankfulness, patience and faith.
As we begin this study of ‘going around the mountain’, it is my hope you will explore with me this fascinating Bible story. To take time and review and study these scriptures as if you are on this same journey, the journey the Israelites were taken on, to get to the Promise Land.
Let’s take this journey together.