Hitting A Plateau

 

In any discipline, skill, or sport, there is a tendency for people to “hit a plateau.” Basically, hitting a plateau means that one has developed from where one has started, but then has leveled off with no further growth. Spiritually speaking, it is also possible to reach a plateau. 3500 years ago, the Israelites were at such a place.

In the first chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses reviews the Israelites’ history:

“The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: 'You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey…’” Deuteronomy 1:6-7

Horeb in the Bible was a range of mountains where many important events took place. It is where Moses encountered the LORD at the burning bush. Horeb also contains Mount Sinai, where the Ten Commandments were delivered to Moses. If Israel were to take inventory, they could certainly see how, in the land of Horeb, they had come a long way from Egypt, where they were enslaved. Yet God wanted His People to move on. He told them, “You have dwelt long enough at this mountain.” You see, even though Horeb represented a step up from Egyptian bondage, it still wasn’t God’s best for His People. The Promised Land had yet to be taken. The LORD wanted His People to move from their comfortable plateau to the next and greater level in their history.

It is interesting that the Hebrew word for turn in this passage, “panah,” usually means to turn toward something, rather than t’shuva, where we get the word repent from, which means to turn away from something. In other words, Israel was not being told to turn away from something, as if it were steeped in sin. Rather, Israel was redirected to turn toward the Promised Land, and continue its journey forward.

How about you? Do you find yourself at a spiritual plateau? Have you made advances from where you started, but have stagnated for a while? If so, perhaps God is saying to you what He said to the Israelites: “You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey…” Your Promised Land is awaiting you.





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