This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.
The Promised Land. A dream come true, (finally!)… laid out before them in all its glory.
Let’s just forget the fact that there’s a flooded river to cross, and all the mighty “Ites,” in all their fortified cities, are waiting around each turn…
… and did you see the giants?!
This time the people of Israel aren’t leaving their enemies behind them under a wind swept sea – no, this time they are headed toward them.
And this time the mighty Moses isn’t leading them.
And this time God’s guiding and guarding pillar of cloud is gone from their view.
Seemingly all they have now is a promoted, puny-in-comparison servant, and a weighty (in more ways than one) stone tablet, that’s housed in a teetering ark of promise.
Ah, but what they really have now is all. they. need.
… a sold-out servant,
God’s living Word,
and God’s powerful and perfect Presence.
It’s one thing to be getting away from an enemy. It’s quite another to be heading toward one.
A promised land, full of enemies and armies and giants , oh my!
How can this be God’s leading? Seriously. Where’s the manna? Where’s the quail? Where’s the everlasting shoes?!
… Where’s Moses?
How many times have I thought, “Surely this land is not where God was leading!” ? How many times have I questioned the struggle and looked right and left for a quick escape… instead of looking for the way through? How many times have I looked ahead and just wanted to give up before even taking the first step?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s wisdom in walking circumspectly, in seeking favor, and in repenting those too-many ‘missteps’ that can detour us along the way.
But often our Promised Land just doesn’t look the way we imagined.
And often our whining and complaining taints the beauty of the promise.
And often we’d just rather duck our head in the sand.
Because too often we forget that:
God is greater.
His Presence leads.
His Word guides.
He never leaves us, nor forsakes us
… He is Emmanuel, God with us.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.
Isaiah 52:12 “But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”
There is nowhere we can go
that the Lord our father – our promise keeper, our dragon slayer – has not gone before us
… or guarded closely behind.
Yes siree… in Him, we have everything we need.
Lord, when the enemy chases, and when the enemy waits, I will follow and I will trust you. Because you, Lord, love me, guide me. You make me a feast in the presence of my enemy and cause me to rest by still waters.
If you are for me, than who can be against me? No one.
Where can I go to escape your presence? No where.
You never leave me or forsake me. No way.
No matter where the road will lead. You, and ONLY you are the promised land – forever mine. Forever home.