“Have you ever looked at what God told the Israelites when they were getting ready to go into the Promised Land?” Stan asked me one morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast.
“A little,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”
“I was looking at that the other day,” Stan replied, “and I saw a clear parallel to my personal promised land.”
“Personal promised land?” I said. “What’s that mean?”
“Quick recap,” Stan replied. “God freed the Israelites from their captivity in Egypt so they could enter the Promised Land. But, due to some things that are other subjects for other days, they spent forty years wandering in the wilderness. Then, when it was time for them to make a move, God told them the same thing He tells me constantly.”
“Keep His commands and experience victory,” Stan replied, “or disobey and experience defeat.”
“Victory verses defeat,” I commented. “Seems like that would be a pretty simple choice.”
“It does, doesn’t it?” Stan said. “But I can say, based on way too much personal experience, that it’s not so simple.”
Continuing, he added, “When I entered my personal ‘promised land’ by accepting the finished work of the cross and gaining the assurance of spending eternity in God’s presence, I was told that I am to keep God’s commandments as I work out the salvation that was worked in by the cross.”
“Who told you that?” I asked.
“God,” was Stan’s one-word answer. “Through His Word and the voice of the Holy Spirit I’m constantly told and reminded that living and experiencing the victorious Christian life involves obedience. If I obey, I will experience victory; if I don’t, I won’t.”
“What kind of victory?” I asked. “Victory in whatever you want?”
“Only if what I want is the same thing God wants,” Stan replied. “If I want to have victory in something that’s not on God’s list, any so-called ‘victory’ I may experience is going to be very fleeting.”
“You mean like it won’t last?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “It seems to me that the only victory that really lasts is the one Jesus accomplished on the cross. When I accepted what He had accomplished, it was like I entered into a ‘promised-land relationship’ with God the Father through God the Son that will carry me into God’s eternal presence when it’s time.”
“In the meantime,” he continued, “for as long as God keeps me on this side of eternity, I am to walk in obedience. If I do that, I will experience the victory He has for me. If I choose to walk in disobedience, there may be some sort of ‘victory’ from the world’s perspective, but it won’t be what God has in mind!”
Bible versus to consider:
The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and walk in His ways. Deuteronomy 28:9.
But it shall come about, if you will not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Deuteronomy 28:15.
Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15.
And why do you call Me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you through the finished work of Jesus’ cross that will allow me to enter into your eternal “promised land” when it’s time. Thank you, too, for all you have for me on this side of eternity before then as I walk with you in the “promised land” on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I do not walk as closely with you as you want and intend. I do that because that is what I choose. Please forgive the foolishness of not walking with you as closely as possible. Please lead me in following every step of your lead into the deepest possible relationship in this promised land until I journey to the eternal one. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious gift of His “promised land” so you know you will spent eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why would you not want that? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing on this side of eternity? Are you walking in obedience? If you sense the need for change in your walk to be obedient in every aspect of your life, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?