Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What to do when the promises come through.

Deuteronomy 12

 1These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.
 2Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
 3And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
 4Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God.

Israel had been in bondage for 400 years. They spent their days in bondage, longing for their deliverer to come and take them to their promised land. Day after day of hard labor. Night after night of tending wounds from the taskmaster's whip. They longed for, prayed for, and looked for the realization of the promise given to them by God: 

Exodus 3:16-18

King James Version (KJV)
 16Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:
 17And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.            

This promise gave them hope! It kept them alive and willing to endure the troubles they faced every day. God sends Moses, he delivers them, and they begin the march to the promised land. They go through battles, famine, lack of water, lack of faith, daily drudgery. Finally, as they begin to prepare to enter into the "land flowing with milk and honey", God gives them a stern warning. 

I'm about to do what I said I would do, BUT when I give you your promised lands, there are some things I expect from you. 

1)Realize that your promised land is not without difficulty. There will be enemies who will try and destroy you. You will have to fight to keep what you've been given.

2) Do not intermingle with their culture and especially their religions. In fact, you are to go in and clean house. You are to take MY culture to this new land. You are to destroy the sacrificial places that they have set up to their false gods. Do NOT believe the lie that all religions lead to the same place. I am your God and you are NOT to bow to and worship their gods. Burn down the groves where they have performed rituals to the fertility goddess. Tear down the high places where they sacrificed to the sun. Take over the land and follow me, changing the land for my glory.

How many of us have lived in misery for years, barely hanging on to the promises that God has spoken to us. We endure the trials and hardships, all the while aching for the day of deliverance to come. We are tempted to give up and walk away, but we know we can't- that way leads to death. 

Finally, God tells us, "I'm about to deliver you." We shout for joy and begin to pack, but do we hear the rest of what he is saying? Listen, dear friend. For if we stop with the message of deliverance, then we will not be prepared for what we face when he does. 

Yes, we all have a place of service. We are called to serve God and each other in whatever capacity he chooses and wherever he tells us to go. It may be across the street, across the state, or across the world, but he has a plan for what he wishes to accomplish in our lives.

When that day comes, it would behoove us to listen to the rest of the story.

1) Know that our place of service, our promised land, is fraught with danger. Our enemies will be there trying to destroy us. We are to go in, take charge, and defeat them in the name of Jesus. 

2) Know that we cannot accept the lie that all roads lead to heaven. We cannot worship with them in their false religions. We are NOT to bow to their ways of doing things. We are to go in the power of his might, and through HIS word, tear down the false religious systems and let God be God! We are to take over our promised land and follow HIM- allowing him to change things there for HIS glory. 

Whatever little things that have been hindering our walk with God that are in our lives, need to be dealt with. We cannot hold to the world and to God and expect to win the battles ahead. We must allow God to show us our hearts and to deal with the wrong things we are shown there. If we do, God will do great things for us and through us. If we do not, we will fall. 

Israel did not follow God's instructions. Even though they received their promise, they could not keep it, because they compromised and fell. 

When God gives us our promised land, we will do the same thing they did? Or, will we pray, fast, stand, and fight the way God tells us to? It's up to us. He has given us clear instructions, will we obey?