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Let’s Take a Walk

January 24, 2012

God makes promises.  He doesn’t have to.  He chooses to.  The truth is that it is only by His sovereign grace that He even chose to reveal Himself to humanity in the first place, much less engage His creatures in such a relational way that a promise would even begin to make sense.  Scripture is littered (in the most beautiful way imaginable) with the promises of God…if we fail to know them, it’s only because we’ve failed to look for them.

 If you will…and I hope you will…take a minute today and read through Deuteronomy 8:1-20.

 We’re reminded in the opening verses of this passage of the merciful acts of provision that God displayed for His people (despite their constant betrayal) during their 40 years in the wilderness.  Most of us will never understand the absolute dependence of the people of Israel during this time for the simplest of physical provision.  With no means to provide food…no means of producing new clothing…God made it so that their clothes didn’t wear out, and also provided them with manna, “which you did not know, nor did your fathers know.”  God not only provided, but He provided in such a way that the people could not even imagine, by way of a food that they had never known before.

 The promise we see in verses 6-9 is not conditioned upon the obedience.  Verse 6 says, “So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.”  The next verse…verse 7…says, “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land.”  He then describes the land as having plentiful waters, flowing with grains for physical sustenance, and fruits, and honey…it’s a land of plenty.  God’s telling His people that they will lack for nothing…and it’s out of that merciful provision that the call is made for obedience.

 There’s something about the promise of a land that resonates with me.  The word “land” just shouts of something big.  It screams to me of something vast…something beyond a subtle glance…something so far and wide that there will always be more of it to explore.  It sounds like something that you could spend the rest of your life searching and always look forward to finding something new…rocks, streams, rivers, trees…a life of newness…a fresh vision each morning…a place that is beyond most of our imaginations.

 That’s a beautiful promise.  Considering it comes from the one who made us, sustains us, and blesses us, it’s a most powerful and meaningful promise…because it can’t fail  Yet, what we know of Israel…and what we know of ourselves…is that we rarely trust the promise.  One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes comes from The Weight of Glory.  He says, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 

 Psalm 37:3-4 says, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  The land is a beautiful metaphor for our Creator.  As He is infinite, and we are finite, there will always be more to learn.  Just like a walk in a vast land, God has promised…by His grace…to be available to us.  Could there be a better promise than that?

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