LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a JOURNEY involves CHANGE…..embrace CHANGE in your LIFE…..LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a JOURNEY involves CHANGE….. in your LIFE…..LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a
“Pitch, Pack and Ponder”
Definition of Preparing Change: making things ready for change – constructing a plan to carry out necessary actions for a transition
Master Key Verse: Prepare the way of the Lord. – Isaiah 40:3 NKJV
In the context that this verse was written in the Old Testament, Isaiah was referring to God’s presence returning to the nation of Israel after a time of chastisement.
When John the Baptist speaks of preparing the way for the first coming of Jesus, he quoted these words of Isaiah. They are recorded in all four gospels (Matt. 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4 and John 1:23).
The NIV translation of the Bible states Isaiah 40:3 as “prepare the way for the Lord” while the NKJV says “prepare the way of the Lord. We are to prepare the way for the Lord in our lives by living and preparing our lives according to the way of the Lord.
I had to “Pitch, Pack and Ponder” in order for me to prepare the way for the Lord to move in my life the way He desired as we moved into a new home. I had to prepare myself physically, emotionally ad spiritually in order to live according to the way the Lord had planned for me. I searched for a Bible story that would give me an example of pitching, packing and pondering during a move. I was reminded of the Israelites as they began their Life-Journey-Change experience of moving from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan. Join me in a scripture study of the Israelites as they prepared to cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
The Israelites Leave Egypt
Read Exodus 11 and 12
The Lord tells Moses how He will bring upon the Egyptians the plague causing the death of their firstborn sons. Finally the Pharaoh will drive the Israelites out completely. (v. 1)
In chapter 11, the Lord informs Moses and the people that soon they will be pitching their past and packing to leave Egypt.
The Lord relates to Moses how to prepare for change that will result in their exodus from Egypt and slavery.
*Verses 1-11 gives the instructions for the preparation and eating of the Passover meal. (Later they will ponder the significance of what they were told to do as the Passover is still commemorated today.)
***In verses 6-8, they are told to slaughter a lamb on the first day of the month. Then they are to put blood upon the door frame and eat the lamb.
***In verse 8, they are to eat bitter herbs that were symbolic of the bitterness of slavery they were going to pitch.
***In verse 8, their bread is to be made without yeast. (I think they were pitching things they would not take with them as they were packing for their journey from slavery.)
***In verse 11, they are to eat with their cloak tucked into their belt, sandals on their feet and their staff in their hand. (They were packed!)
*Verses 12-23 instructs the Israelites that they are to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread because it commemorates their release from Egypt. Instructions are given for how to celebrate it.
***In verse 17, they are to celebrate Passover as a lasting ordinance and in verse 20, they are told to eat the unleavened bread wherever they live. (They will ponder!)
*Verses 24-28 elaborates that these instructions are a lasting ordinance that will give the people a reason to share with their children the meaning of this ceremony. They did as they were told.(v. 28)
*Verses 31-32 Pharaoh tells the people to GO worship the Lord as requested and to take flocks and herds with them.
*Verses 34-36 tells of the dough the Israelites took with them along with silver and gold and anything else they requested that had belonged to the Egyptians.
***In verse 36, they plundered the Egyptians. (They packed while they plundered.)
*Verses 37-42 The Israelites began their journey that would last 430 years.
In chapter 12, the Israelites are preparing the way for the Lord to move in their circumstances by preparing the Passover meal according to the way of the Lord.
The Israelites packed and pitched. They did all of this without pondering or questioning what they were asked to do. However, they were also given instructions as to how they were to ponder in the future.
I Leave Webster
While we were preparing for change, I was so busy pitching what we did not need and packing what we did need that I forgot to do any pondering! Only after the physical move did I read an article by Elizabeth Sherrill in Guideposts that helped me see my need to do some emotional and spiritual pondering.
I needed to ponder some spiritual milestones and sort through some family events that transpired in our Webster home. I finally took time to mentally walk through each room of our former home and ponder the special events I wanted to remember. In the family room I saw the Christmas tree and the personalized stockings hung by the fireplace each year. The bedrooms of our children were special because in these rooms they both progressed from sleeping in cribs to regular beds to sharing their beds with their spouses. It was also in their rooms that each of them prayed the prayer of salvation asking Jesus into their hearts. Family, friends, holidays, graduations, weddings, etc. etc. etc. This exercise helped me pack away many memories in my mind. I also came to realize that I could unpack these thoughts any time I wanted and that I could ponder the memories no matter where we might be living. Some things were probably better off being pitched (not remembered) but many treasures would always be only a thought away. The best thing I realized while I pondered was that God had orchestrated all the happenings of my life in the past and that He would continue to do so in the present and future.
I was like the Israelites! I pitched and packed before I pondered! God was always with the Israelites and He would always be with me no matter what change occurred during my life’s journey. Moses told the Israelites in the last part of Deuteronomy 31:6, “The Lord your God goes with you; He will ever leave you nor forsake you.” Then Jesus concludes Matthew 28:20 by saying to His disciples and me, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
For me, change did not just happen when we actually moved all our boxes and possessions to a new house. It was happening each time I pondered whether to pitch or pack a specific item or a special thought. So many boxes! So many changes! “Life-Journey-Change.”
Biblical Summary of Pitch, Pack and Ponder
The concept of each one of these P words is developed in various scriptures throughout the Bible. Let’s look at a few examples of spiritual pitching, packing and pondering.
I John 1:9 – “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
You may want to read Psalm 31 that was written by David after he had sinned with Bathsheba. Especially note verse 10: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” You can pray this prayer to pitch sin from your life just as David did.
Pack lessons learned in life
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
God wastes nothing so do not forget what you have experienced.
Ponder what Jesus did for you
Read I Corinthians 11:23-29
Paul reminds the Corinthians not only about the sacredness of the Lord Supper that was instituted by Jesus but he also quotes the words Jesus used when He first shared the bread and the cup with His disciples. Paul points out to us not only the most important thing for us to ponder and remember, but how to do it.
“Do this in remembrance of Me” is the command given by Jesus recorded in Matthew 36:26-30 and Mark 14:22-25 regarding the Lord’s Supper.
No matter at what point we are in our life’s journey, the most vital thing we are to remember and ponder is the fact that Jesus died for each and every one of us. Always take time to partake in communion so that you can “come into union” with the Lord through all the changes you encounter on your journey of life. After all, is not our Christian communion foreshadowed in the Passover Feast of the Jewish people? Think back to Exodus 11 and 12 that we studied earlier. The Israelites put the blood of a lamb over their doors so that the angel of death would pass over them when it struck the Egyptians. Now Jesus is the Lamb of God who shed His blood for us so that we may live and not die. The Israelites remembered and so must we remember.
Today we have been “Pitching, Packing and Pondering” regarding our physical lives and our spiritual lives. We have found examples for both the natural and spiritual in the Bible. I have shared how these words applied to me when we moved to our new home. Now it is your turn to act upon these words regarding your own life. Please feel free to send me any responses you would like to share. Just as I could not move from one house to another without doing some pitching and packing and pondering, neither can you or I move from one spiritual level of understanding to another without doing some pitching, packing and pondering.
God says that He makes all things new in Revelation 21:5, so get ready for change. How do you get ready for change? Our master key verse of Isaiah 40:3 says to prepare the way of the Lord. So, prepare the way for the new thing God has for you by pitching, packing and pondering things that are currently part of your life.
For further study: You might enjoy applying the concept of Pitching, Packing and Pondering” to the parable of the prodigal son as recorded in Luke 15:11-32.