THIS SERIES: JOURNEY INTO REST
Only people who are sure that their needs are met can rest – like the sheep in Psalm 23. The land they were entering promised to flow with milk and honey – both staples and luxuries. And significantly it would be watered from heaven, rather than from their own labours, as had been the case in Egypt. Their new lives were to be characterised by sacred rhythms: work & rest; labour and fruitfulness; reflection and celebration. And right at its heart would be the presence of God.
But first the Israelites had to take the land – it wasn’t just empty, ready & waiting.
To do that they needed…….
- To continue to trust in the Provider. They needed to continue to remember what the Lord had already done for them, and look through that filter at the challenges ahead. As Paul wrote, hundreds of years later, ‘Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful’ [Hebrews 10:23].
- To keep their focus on the Lord. The Ark, which signified the powerful presence of God, always travelled with them, and went before them in battle.
- To listen to Divine strategy. Taking a city by walking round it in silence for seven days, then shouting, wouldn’t be found in military strategy handbooks! However we know from the story of the fall of Jericho that an apparently non-sensical procedure had amazing results. But, importantly, they were not to assume that the same method was be used on the next city.
- To obey the Lord. The bottom line was ‘No obedience, No promised land’.
- To be committed to helping their fellow countrymen win – and keep - the territory allotted to them. God’s heart was to live among a people occupying the inheritance He had given them, not just individuals.
And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God
[2 Corinthians 1:20].
- TRUST IN THE LORD
- FOCUS ON HIS PRESENCE
- LISTEN TO HIM
- OBEY HIM
- SUPPORT OTHERS
– a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills;
a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig-trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey;
a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing;
a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
[Deuteronomy 8: 7-9]
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[**Photo credits: Matt Sclarandis, with thanks]