A pastor I knew was teaching a series on the journey “Out of the Wilderness” by the children of Israel and how each camp that they stopped at, had a profound effect on their lives. (Each camp signified an emotional, spiritual, relational or physical milestone in the life of God’s children.)
As he began wrapping up the story of their journey, I realized why those who had come out of Egypt just couldn’t cross over the Jordan into the promised land . . .
I’ve long seen how special and wonderful each one of us are in God’s big picture to bring about the Kingdom of God on this Earth – when we allow Jesus Christ to rule and reign in our lives. Each of us have a part to play, and, no one can do- what we do- the way we do it! When we all do what we are called to do, and do it in love , we will fit together and pave the way for those who do not know Jesus, and to experience HIM, personified in our lives and into salvation through His shed blood.
The children of Israel had been in slavery for hundreds of years, and knew only that lifestyle. When God called them out of slavery, that had to have been frightening! No wonder so many whined and complained! Many of us today, will remain in an abusive relationship, a dead end job or stay wrongly placed in ministry because we are familiar with that ‘routine’, that lifestyle. We know the turmoil, the strife, the stress, the heartache of that life. To do something else is beyond our experience. And to allow God to do something new in our lives would require us to learn and experience something new. The unknown is always more frightening than the known. We don’t know what to expect. We lose what ‘control’ we think we have.
To cross over the Jordan and claim the promised land was just too much! That just didn’t ‘compute’ with the Israelites thinking and experience. They had never fought for their freedom – why should they start now? So God had them work out their ‘issues’ in the wilderness desert – all the while building and strengthening their children.
The children of the Israelites were born in the wilderness – saw that it was not the place to be and dreamed of a better life. The wilderness strengthened and toughened them. Never having known the limitations of slavery – they yearned for the day when they would take their promise!
It is my understanding that we’ve been taught by our society to do as you are told. Get a good paying job, submit to the rules and accept the fact that those who ‘make it big’ were destined to do just that. The thinking is often that, “‘our family’ is not made for greatness, or that ‘our family never wins’. Like many a child, I dreamed of creating things and making money from it. But experience and the words around me soon suffocated those dreams, and like most of the masses, I fell into a routine of acceptance of whatever it was that came my way as being God’s will for my life.
Through a string of circumstances in my own life, I’ve developed a dream and vision so large for myself and those around me, that it would be easy to back off and say, “Nah, this is to big – to grandiose for someone like me.” Yet, I cannot deny that like you, I’ve ‘been called for such a time as this”. But it is I who must cross over old mind sets and claim my Promised Land. It is I who must face the giants in my life and sweat to obtain what my eyes can see. It is not going to come to me, even though I’ve made it through the wilderness and am now camped so close to my promise that I can see and smell the land across the river. It will come when I do not look back and gather what belongs to me – get what I need and push through the waters of adversity and unbelief.
What excited me that day in this message was this; It was I who had been enslaved to the ways of slavery (world systems) and because of my experiences in the wilderness had come to face those giants in my life which have in turn, strengthened me to fight the giants I will encounter in my Promised Land. (How fulfilling to realize that your chains have been broken, and that you are actually crossing the Jordan!) How exciting to realize that if you desire to do the same, that the bridge is now being built that will allow us to cross over together! All we have to do is to choose to go beyond our limitations and look for provision along the way.
With God, ALL THINGS are possible!