They say that as people get older they forget things. I wouldn’t know because I’m still so young and dynamic, but can you imagine how it would be if you walked out of the front door of your home and realized that you’d forgotten where you were going?
I can’t remember if I’ve ever done that, but it would be quite a problem if I had.
That happened to God’s people once. God brought them out of Egypt to bring them into the place He had promised them. And they spent forty years wearing ruts in a desert circle. Actually, they never forgot where they were going. The problem was that their head was so full of where they came from, that they often looked looked back instead of forwards.
Which is surprising because where they came from wasn’t pretty. That’s why they were in the desert. They griped so much about slavery that God delivered them. Then they griped about the desert. Then they griped when they realized that their promised home wouldn’t be given them on a silver platter without a fight.
So, the Lord got sick of it and let them cool their sandals in the desert until that bellyaching generation died out and a tough generation of warriors—bred and trained in the desert—stood up.
In case you’ll doodling around and around in your life, I need to tell you something: God brought you out to bring you in.
He brought you out of death and sin to bring you into a place of fullness in Jesus-Christ. When we find ourselves hooked by something we know is wrong, when we live our lives without aim or without mission, when the idea of joy in God seems a bad joke when compared to what we’re living each day, it might be that we’re out of “Egypt” but we haven’t entered into the fullness of what God has for us.
A lot of free people in Christ still think like and act like slaves.
Slaves think like this:
“I better not be too generous. I’ve got to hold onto my time, my finances, my love. If I’m lavish in sharing I might not have enough for myself later.”
“Those people are bigger, more capable than I am. Their family is dripping with money. They had all the chances. If I risk this, I may lose the pitiful little bit I have.”
And as soon as they realize they are going to have to fight or sweat to move into God’s promise, they slink away in fear, all the while blaming God.
A good archeologist might find the bleached bones of a couple of million peoples under several tons of sand in that desert. They wandered around until they died. Is it possible that some people that God has led out of death into life will never experience the fullness of life He meant for us?
Yet two fellows in all that crowd that left Egypt with everyone else finally entered into God’s promise—Caleb and Joshua. Really, they’d been ready to go in for forty years but they had to traipse around with the losers until a new generation of people who took God at His Word stood up.
Here’s how people who take the promise roll: 14:6-9 ”Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, members of the scouting party, ripped their clothes and addressed the assembled People of Israel: “The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land—very good indeed. If God is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that flows, as they say, with milk and honey. And he’ll give it to us. Just don’t rebel against God! And don’t be afraid of those people. Why, we’ll have them for lunch! They have no protection and God is on our side. Don’t be afraid of them!
“But, up in arms now, the entire community was talking of hurling stones at them. Just then the bright Glory of God appeared at the Tent of Meeting.” (The Message) (Just a little comment-this isn’t the time when you generally want God to show up, when you’re talking like they were).
The Lord blesses us abundantly in His land and we generously share that abundance. We’ve decided, also, that we want to live in God’s promise so we’re going to enter into whatever it takes to possess the Land.
Is my marriage limping? I’m going to find some people who love the Lord to help me get myself straight. I’m going to read books and listen to teaching (good teaching. Careful, there’s some people out there who are as strange as a three-dollar bill). I’m going to ask God desperately for help and I’m not going to quit doing what it takes to make my family successful.
We can weep because of the enemy who is squatting on our land or we can take the weapons God gives and go kick him off.
So … if you’re entering into God’s promise, don’t forget that the desert is just a passage and not a destination. If you’ve forgotten, drag out your heavenly GPS, blow off the dust and get back on track. If your GPS is like mine she won’t let you forget.
image: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig flickr creative commons license