The Promised Land

            Jess and I are continuing our trek through the Bible. This week, we are in the book of Deuteronomy. The word Deuteronomy comes from a Hebrew word meaning ‘second law’. The reason for the name is not that Moses is establishing a new law, but he goes back over the laws established throughout the first four books of the Bible. On top of that, he rehashes everything that the Jews have gone through from their exodus from Egypt to where they were then, on the precipice of heading into the Promised Land. Really, it is basically a history book.

            In chapter 7, Moses was reminding the people of what God had promised them. He reiterated that God will empower them to drive out the people who were living in what would become Israel so that they could take possession of it. The odds were stacked against the Jews, but they had to trust in God’s promise. If they did that, then they would be successful. 

            God wanted the Israelites to know that he had prepared everything beforehand for them to enter a land of blessing far beyond what they could have ever imagined. Here’s what he said in Deuteronomy 7:10-12:

When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you— a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant–then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

            On the first reading of that passage, it is obvious that God is telling the Jews that they are going to reap the benefits of work that was not done by them. They would be walking into a ready-made country to call their own. After 40 years of wandering the desert, they would have a place prepared for them to call home. That place was prepared for them by God, and it was prepared for them long before they would ever set foot in Israel. It was being prepared for them long before any of them were born. God was preparing it for them as they were slaves in Egypt, even before they cried out to him to rescue them. He was preparing it for them while they were roaming the wilderness, making mistake after mistake. God was preparing it for them while they refused to enter it the first time because they feared the people who lived there and didn’t trust in God’s promise. Even in the worst times in their lives, God was preparing an amazing blessing for them.

            This is true for us today, too. God is preparing amazing blessings for all his people. It doesn’t matter what we’re going through or how hard life beats us down. It doesn’t matter if we are wandering in our deserts, questioning if God’s promises are true; he is still preparing something for us. His faithfulness is not dependent upon yours. His goodness is not dependent upon your situation; he is the God who brings beauty out of the ashes and gives life to dry bones.

            Think back across your life; I imagine that there is a myriad of examples of this being true. I’m sure that we all had things that seemingly fell into place for us. Maybe that was with a job, a relationship, financially, or a life circumstance. I can think of several in my life. My marriage was born out of the hardest time of my life. My current job came after I had to say goodbye to my dream job with no real plan of what to do next. There have been times that I didn’t have enough money in my bank account, and I received an unexpecting check or found money in a random place. Maybe you have had similar moments in your life as well.

            When those things happen, we can easily think that it is just happenstance. I believe that it is God delivering a blessing to us, one that he had ready for us long before we knew that we needed it. Our heavenly Father knows what we need long before we know ourselves. 

            There is a danger after we have received what it is that he has in store for us: we can forget who it is that provided what we needed. Let’s say that God opened the door for you to have a new job. I’m sure that when you first get it, you’ll say a prayer of thanksgiving. That may go on for a few weeks. After a while, you may fall into the trap that you got the job because of your ability or resumé. While that may be true, it wouldn’t have happened if God’s mighty hand was not at work. 

            We can easily forget what we went through because we have lived in the blessing for so long. That is why God said to the Jews, “when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Deuteronomy 7:12). Part of living in God’s blessing is acknowledging often who it is that provided it in the first place. 

            Do you know the line from Amazing Grace: “How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed”? Though that is talking specifically about salvation, I think that it can be extrapolated out to all the grace that God pours out on us. We are forgetful people. We are so moved in the moment of God’s provision that we will praise him with tears running down our faces, only to not bring it up again after a few days or weeks. Don’t get fat on the blessing and forget to compliment the chef.

            You may feel that you are in a spiritual desert now. Your life may be falling apart, or hardship may have come your way. Take heart! God has already prepared a Promised Land for you. He has been working out something incredible for you long before this moment. This is his promise for us in Romans 8:28; “He works all things to the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes.” You are seen by God. He hears your cries. Best of all, he has already prepared a blessing for you long before now. He will lead you into the Promised Land.

*** Thank you for taking the time to read this today! I hope that you found some encouragement in what I wrote. If you liked this, then I think that you’ll enjoy my book. You can buy it by going here.***

Published by smith1626

I am the Director of Youth Ministries at St. John United Methodist Church in Scott Depot, WV. Mostly, I am a sinner saved by amazing grace.

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