I haven’t played my guitar since the last Sunday when I closed the church down. But in looking up a new song I heard on Youtube, you know how it goes, one click leads to another, I found myself listening to a few Rich Mullins songs that I used to play. I then landed on a Rich Mullins concert that I never had the chance to watch/listen to. Memories came flooding back as I listened to those old songs, memories of being young in the Lord and desiring everything God had for me in this life.
It might not be a song for you. It might be a Scripture verse, a church, a person or some other special place, but there are spiritual markers in your life that point to a certain time when Heaven broke through.
In Numbers 33, Moses lists a bunch of places the children of Israel camped/stayed/lived on their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. If you read them, they are meaningless to you, they are just names. But each place meant something to the children of Israel. Each place had special significance, maybe a parent died, maybe a family member was born. Maybe a son became engaged to be married or maybe someone was promoted or honored in some way.
Besides that, there were significant spiritual happenings in many of those places. There were places and times when they doubted God or whined about water or manna. There were places where they heard the rumblings of God’s voice coming form the tabernacle. These were times and places when they depended on the leading of God by a cloud during the day and where they were comforted by the fire that rested over the tabernacle at night.
Spiritual markers weren’t new to the Children of Israel. Their Father, Abraham was very familiar with spiritual markers, places and times when God spoke to him. One major spiritual marker was visited by Abraham after his trip back from Egypt.
The Lord said to Abram:
Go out from your land,
and your father’s house
to the land that I will show you.
2 I will make you into a great nation,
I will bless you,
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
I will curse those who treat you with contempt,
and all the peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people he had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the site of Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your offspring.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. He built an altar to Yahweh there, and he called on the name of Yahweh.
Genesis 12:1-8 (HCSB)
Moving on to verse 10, we find out that there was a famine in the land, so Abraham traveled to Egypt.
In Egypt, Abraham makes his wife say that she is his sister. That wasn’t really a lie, it just wasn’t the whole truth. Since Sarah was so beautiful, she quickly garnered the attention of someone in Pharaoh’s court that let him know that this “new, good looking chick was in town.” Of course, the ruler of the land is going to take her and want to make her his…Abraham doesn’t seem to object. In return, Abraham is given many gifts by Pharaoh on account of Sarah. However, soon people start coming down with some nasty plagues. It was soon found out that Sarah was not only Abraham’s sister, but his wife too. Pharaoh sends Abraham and Sarah away as a result.
Now, on the outside, Abraham looked like he was that “blessed” guy that God talked about. The problem is that he wasn’t blessed by God, he was blessed by Pharaoh, on account of Sarah. The other thing is that he really didn’t leave on good terms. The Bible says that he was sent or escorted away. This has the idea that people weren’t happy with him and wanted to get rid of him. You can kind of understand their point….Abraham was the cause of the plagues they had suffered!
Abraham could have traveled anywhere after leaving Egypt. But instead, he went back to the last place he built an altar and worshiped the Lord.
That place was familiar. There was history there. God was there. It was a good place.
Then Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev—he, his wife, and all he had, and Lot with him. 2 Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold. 3 He went by stages from the Negev to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had formerly been, 4 to the site where he had built the altar. And Abram called on the name of Yahweh there. Genesis 13:1-4 (HCSB)
The Bible doesn’t really tell us how long Abraham spent calling on the name of the Lord there. But we know that he starts making better decisions, keeping the peace between his men and his nephew Lot’s men. He even let Lot choose the land he wanted to dwell in and Abraham went the other way. Maybe Abraham learned his lesson about depending on God and staying in the land He promised him.
Your Spiritual Markers
You should be able to identify times in your life that are spiritual markers too! It might not be an altar like Abraham, but there are times and places in your past that “marked you” in your relationship with God.
Why are these spiritual makers important?
Spiritual markers point to your past! They provide a time and place to remember that God has been active in your life. You can be encouraged and inspired knowing that He was with you then and nothing can stop Him from being with you now!
Spiritual markers point to your present! Many times we go through circumstances and situations and it is very easy to get our attention off of the Lord! Looking back at spiritual markers helps to affirm your faith during dark times. Spiritual markers can also serve to bring you peace as you give way to His will in your life…because He has been there in the past.
Spiritual markers point to your future! The God who has been active in your life in the past and in your present will not forsake you in the future. In fact, you have a great future a head of you, ultimately eternity!
Have you ever taken time to look back on your life to identify spiritual makers? If you haven’t, I would suggest that you do so. Think back to times when God was moving in your life without a shadow of a doubt. You might not have noticed it then, but looking back, you can definitely identify these times!
You might want to write these times down to reflect on them during times of uncertainty. Because, uncertain times are sure to come! When they do, you need to be full of faith and ready to point others to the way of true preparedness….eternal preparedness!