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Keys to the Promised Land

You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance…
Deuteronomy 1:17-21

The words Promised Land conjure up pictures of overflowing milk and dripping honey.  Reflecting on what ‘taking the Promised Land’ entailed, there seem to be a few realities to factor in:

  1. The land didn’t come to them; they went to the land.  
  2. The land already had occupants. This was no Goldie Locks-finds-empty-cottage scene.
  3. The sitting tenants were not hanging out “have my house for free” signs.  There was a fight for the land that was already theirs.
  4. The spiritual roots of the places they were to call home were not exactly Baptist.
  5. God seemed very concerned about pure obedience and not at all worried about resources needed to ‘take the land.’  The answer to the latter was always “The Lord your God has given you…”

There is a wonderful symmetry of the sovereign acts of God and the respondent obedience of man.  God makes the first move: He speaks a word to us.  We make the next move: we break camp.  God initiates again: He tells us to step into the giant water hazard. We [think, “Don’t You know that the water is cold around Christmas?” and] obey. He does the miraculous, and a nation experiences what it must be like to walk through the world’s largest car wash.  The desert sand is symbolically washed from their hair and ears.  Then with a massive swoosh, the river closes up behind them, and the former obstacle of a river becomes a security barrier preventing their return to the wilderness and the wilderness’ return to them.  They are out of the desert.  There is no way to go but forward.  “Break camp and advance…”

Reflections

  • Are you still camping at a mountain when God has already moved on?

  • What might shorten the time delay between God’s speaking and your obeying?

 

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