“1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.”
I ran across of this piece of Scripture this morning and boy am I glad I did! So much of God’s goodness is packed in here and so many lessons to be learned and applied to our lives. I’m going to break it up, try my best to keep it brief and simple for ya, and most of all I pray that this Word moves you in some awesome ways closer to God and strengthens your daily walk with Him!
It’s cool how you never hear of the Israelites getting out of Egypt and then walking on the yellow brick road, this straight easy path with no harm, no struggles, walking right into the promised land. The story of what the Israelites went through teaches us so much about our lives because their journey resembles ours in a lot of ways. It’s a journey that contains a lot of bumps, bruises, curvy roads that leave us wandering and moments where we feel like we aren’t where we’d prefer to be. I know for me, I constantly want to get to the promised land, but I don’t want anything to do with the crazy road in the wilderness it takes to get there. It’s like wanting six-pack abs but never spending anytime working out in any form or fashion. Ab’s just don’t appear, neither does the land of where God is taking us. It’s a battle, a day in day out grind that will leave you so many times wanting to give up and quit but thank God we have His promise to hold onto. His promise is what keeps us striving forward.
God says to be extremely careful to follow His every command, follow His Word in how He’s told us to live and conduct ourselves in this life. So often we sit back and say, “Jesus has already done it all, I’m good.” That’s true but “faith without works is dead.” Believing in what God has done for you through Jesus goes directly into living and striving to be more and more like Christ in our daily lives. I’ll be honest the moments I’m living for me, following my commands, doing what Jordan wants to do. It’s easy to see that traveling this wilderness road without God is first of all impossible, but it really sucks. The moments lately when I’ve been more obedient lately isn’t because of anything I did, it has just stemmed from praying more, staying and meditating on His Word more, then God just does what He does and I’ve sat back to watch jaw-dropped like, “WOAH!” Be careful to follow God’s commands and stay close with God because obedience to God, living a life that pleases God, being so super close to God to be obedient and seeing Him work through our lives of obedience completely changes everything, God says to do this, to be obedient in following Him because when we do, that’s the keys to actually LIVING man! Seriously, we aren’t truly living, increasing or getting better in any kind of way unless we’re with God. He’s given us the promise, and He’s told us how to get there.
There are many moments like I mentioned where life doesn’t look like you hoped or thought it would. You go through seasons in a place where you may not want to be and I don’t blame you because the Promised land sounds really good. Those seasons in the wilderness are extremely necessary though. I’m sitting here right now to tell you, at 22 I received a call from God, no not a phone call but a call to live the rest of my life in ministry for Him. It was a super exciting time, I got to go on some overseas mission trips to Rwanda, Africa, got some more really cool experiences to serve, I’m telling you I could see the promised land and it looked SOOO GOOD! Then life started looking a little different, I kept trying to jump into ministry to get in that promised land as fast as I could but remember it’s not an easy straight path from the wilderness to the promised land. I began working different jobs, as hard as I tried to go and do elsewhere in the BIG BEAUTIFUL plans God has for me, instead I worked for awhile as a farm hand, and currently I’m working as a part time stocker in a grocery store, and part time loading up cars with bags of feed at a feed and supply store. I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a tough part of the journey, I’ve struggled to accept where God had put me, I tried and tried to get out of it with all I’ve had but it just led to more and more wandering in the wilderness.
I tell you that to say, a lot like the Israelites, God takes us through seasons in the low and humbles us greatly to realize that we can’t possibly do this journey on bread alone but WE CAN do this journey, ONLY by the Word of God! It hasn’t been fun or where I wanted to be but through the humbling in the wilderness, God has taught me SO MUCH! That’s why that last verse hits me so hard. How God disciplines us in a similar way to the way our parents have disciplined us growing up. God allows us to mess up, make mistakes, walk in circles wandering through the wilderness on our own strength. He allows this to happen to bring us farther away from ourselves and our weakness but into a new walk of life. Even still sitting in what I would have called the wilderness 6 months ago, God has taught me to be thankful wherever He places me, He’s taught me to keep me eyes on the promised land and let that be the fire in my belly to keep pushing but to stay in tune with Him on a daily basis, attacking whatever is put in front of me. It may not look like much but an intentional conversation with a grocery shopper, going out of your way to care for someone, help someone, love someone. Those little things, when attacked with complete obedience to God’s commandments, out of complete thankfulness for what God has given you and attacking what’s in front because you are lucky to even be on this journey with God in the first place and the others around you, God has given you a simple purpose to show them God, show them that they’re life can be with God too that they can start actually LIVING too.
I could go on and on about what God has taught me during this season of life but the main thing is that God is with us, through God alone we have life, and He’s given us His Word to LIVE this life to the fullest of what He has in store for us. It doesn’t matter what your title is, who your congregation is, or how “cool” it may look in a worldly lens, God has placed you exactly where He wants you around people He wants you to serve. Trust that, TRUST HIM! You can sit around and complain saying how bad your life is, how much better everyone else has it, how you don’t want to be there, but you’ll just live the rest of your life as a complainer, a victim, a “poor old me.” God has given you a LIFE to LIVE, live it! Focus in on what God has placed in front of you, judge it by His standards not the worlds and in each and every moment, be obedient to serve, love and follow His commandments. I used to think the promised land looked like a place in life on a big stage preaching truth to millions of people. The promised land is in daily communion with God, learning more of Him and walking with Him and serving every single person in your path for Him. That’s the promised land, just simply living life with God!