Six-inch heels in the sand…?

“Your clothes did not wear out, and your feet did not swell during those forty years.”

I read these very words right before hitting Nordstrom’s Rack (my shoe mecca) looking for “some comfortable walking shoes”.

I know.

I have never bought a pair of shoes because they were comfortable for walking.

If it’s not a running shoe, I usually like to buy something like this…

Or this…

Or this…

“Your clothes did not wear out, and your feet did not swell during those forty years.”

In Deuteronomy, Moses is telling a few million people (the Israelites) a story they all know well.  Has anyone ever wondered how he did this without a mega-microphone?  But, I digress.

“Forty years ago, God rescued you from FOUR HUNDRED years of brutal slavery to the Egyptians in an epic exodus.”  he said, loudly.   “You people were crushed in mind, body, and spirit, worn down to a nub after ten generations of servitude.  Then, God moved you out into the real-life classroom (a.k.a the desert) for FORTY YEARS to learn how to be a people, God’s holy and set-apart people…”

It wasn’t exactly the kind of life they had been dreaming about post-rescue.  It wasn’t this kind of life…

No, their life for the next forty years would make anyone want to curl up in a ball and cry.

Days and nights were filled with very unglamorous things such as packing and unpacking tents, finding sand and despair in every crevice, raising children in godless cultures, and caring for aging parents, all in the middle of nowhere good.

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with the venomous snakes and scorpions…”

This sounds like it could be hard on your feet, don’t you think?  Create some wear and tear on your joints and your clothes after, say, a year?

“Your clothes did not wear out, and your feet did not swell during those forty years.”

Yet, the years bled into decades of always being the outsiders and the foreigners.  There were periods of rebellion, weeks of plagues, constant internal bickering and bitterness, drought, strife and homesickness,  just to name a few of the low points.  “Why did you bring us here?”  God’s people would wail.  “It was better being slaves….”

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son.”

By the end of the forty years, Moses is addressing a strong nation who is about to enter a beautiful and fertile land where they will prosper and grow as a nation.  “Put the tents away, and build homes and vineyards” God says.  “This is your home that I have promised you.  Don’t forget me when you have eaten and are full.”

They have been refined, prepared, and disciplined by God himself and are ready to handle – get this – a normal, non-desert life.

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger, and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

Amazing.

God rescues, and then doesn’t just leave us unshackled, bony and bare.  He sets his affection on us, like a real father, to strengthen us in all ways.  He shows us what is required to really live.

Even though we might not notice, due to the scorpions, and the heat, and whatnot, he takes care of massively important details along the way.

“Your clothes did not wear out, and your feet did not swell during those forty years.”

It’s not my year for stilettos, much as I wished it were today.  But, even beautiful shoes remind me of the caring and loving nature of God.

So, walk uprightly, saints, and help others who may be traveling in the desert, because the LORD carries us with love, as a father carries his son.

Photo by Hannes Pieters

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