Promised Land Revisited

I've been searching for a long time. Feeling as if I've been wandering in the wilderness (thankfully not 40 years). And yet, recently, I've hit upon an important decision about my life and everything has clicked into place. What was now restlessness is replaced with hopeful anticipation. You can say this is part two of my Promised Land post.

Is that what if felt like for the Israelites standing on the precipice of immense change. It is for this reason I decided to read Deuteronomy. It's a snapshot of my life right now.

Now let's hit pause:

Ten Commandments.jpeg

Moses is not my favorite of the men in the bible. He comes off very blame-shifty. "But God it isn't my fault." Thankfully, there isn't a ton of that in Deuteronomy. While we're at it, the patriarchy and genocide is rampant. There were times I stopped reading to say WTF, God? That's a separate post for another time.

Deuteronomy hits on a central theme of stepping into your promise as God has declared it over your life. Some of us are still seeking it. Others know what it is but, like me, find yourself running from it. But in both instances, you're left feeling restless. It's the undercurrent in your life. Sure, things, people, and circumstances will distract you for a time - days, weeks, even years - but it's like a mosquito buzzing in your ear.

This book of the bible is all about preparing you for stepping into that promised land. It's a reflection of where you are and where you've been. It's a corrective calling your attention to where you've messed up and it reflects promise. It pivots around a basic and yet profound statement:

Trust and obey God

Trust that he's got you like he has before.

Obey what he tells you to do and when to do it.

Trust when it doesn't make sense.

Obey when you don't want to.

Trust when you're scared.

Obey even when it's hard.

And friends, it is hard. It's hard to recognize when there are limits to your power. That ultimately, it's in God's hands. It is hard when you want to do and God clearly says "no" or "wait."

But he doesn't leave you twisting in the wind. He validates his promise. It can come from any direction, any person, or circumstance. A reminder that he is here. My validations have come from people I know and strangers. To have a stranger speak to you exactly what God spoke to you and then that person float out of your life leaves you SHOOK.

To be clear, the promised land does not mean you won't have to do the work. God, through Moses, told them what lay ahead of them. The people they would encounter and overcome in order to gain what God promised.

My journey into the promised land, the fullness of God's promise, won't be easy but neither will yours. He makes no such promise. He does let you know that if you trust and obey him, he'll prepare your way. That nothing and no one will stand long against you. 

But you've got to show up and do the work.

The Promised Land?

The Promised Land?

The books of Isaiah and Joshua pivot around this idea of the promised land. This future time when things will be different. Both are filled with hope. Hope in God that He’s got the children of Israel even when they mess up.

Their reality, on the other hand, is different. In Isaiah’s case, Israel is doing everything but honoring God. They rely on other nations to protect them. Eventually, they will experience Babylonian captivity in which they will be taken far from their homeland, enslaved, and scattered. In Joshua, the children of Israel come out of 40 years in the wilderness. God sets before them the task to reclaim the land. The occupied land.

It’s interesting I read these books (finished Isaiah and five chapters into Joshua) at this point in my life. I have the hope of a brighter day. The future time in which the things God has placed in my heart will come to pass. But, my reality is far different. I don’t feel any closer to the things I’ve long desired and prayed for.

And yet, God tells me they are mine to have if only I believe.

Belief is hard, y’all. Real hard. Any Christian that tells you otherwise is full of shit.

What ends up happen is that I allow the obstacles, the challenges, the future hope to become bigger than God. The underlying thread in all of this: my life, Isaiah, and Joshua is faith in God. God can and will do the impossible for your sake but, most importantly, for his glory.

In all that I encounter, do I call on him when things are going bad?

Or, when things are going well?

Am I remembering him in the middle of my struggles and triumphs?

That’s the question that all who profess to believe should be asking ourselves. Can I trust in God when my circumstances, while not terrible, say otherwise? Are contrary to what I think they should be or God declared they would be?

Would Moses and the Israelites left Egypt if they had known beforehand that they would travel in the wilderness for 40 years or that the majority of them would not experience it? That’s the rub. I think if we are really honest with ourselves if God told me exactly what was ahead of me, the troubles I would face, the people I would love and leave, I know I wouldn’t have the strength to walk his path.

But, when I’ve trusted in him and did the scary thing, I have known such peace and joy. Joy when I experience the sweetness of God. That feeling of total and complete satisfaction even if momentarily (that human doubt creeps up with a quickness).

You will reach the promised land, my friend.

Only believe.