Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Promised Land’

The Accounting

But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.

For the Lord had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

~~ Numbers 26:64-65 (KJV)

After forty years of wandering, the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land. God orders a census, a final accounting of the numbers of the men of Israel. This census will be the basis of the distribution of the lands.

Some of the tribes have increased; some have decreased. But the total number of Israelites is smaller. They have been diminished by their faithlessness and rebellions during these forty years.

Korah, the Levite who rebelled, was swallowed up, but God preserved a remnant of his line for entry into the promised land. God always preserves a remnant of the faithful.

Of all the men who followed Moses into the desert, only Joshua and Caleb are alive. The rest have died of one cause or another because the Lord told them they would die in the desert.

But why? Their sin was one of disbelief. God had told them He was giving them the land, but when they went to look at it, they became fearful of the inhabitants. And they believed their own eyes rather than God’s promise.

There is always a day of reckoning. Every action carries within itself the seed of its own reward or punishment. The faithlessness of those men of Israel resulted in their being denied entrance to the Promised Land. Conversely, the faithful report from Caleb and Joshua is rewarded by their being allowed to enter the Promised Land.

How will we stack up at the day of accounting? Have we been faithful to believe all that the Lord has told us? Have we been rebellious? Have we been lukewarm in our ardor to know Him better?

I’m so glad that our salvation doesn’t rely on our personal accounting. It relies, instead, on our belief in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross. Only Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient to cover all our shortcomings — past, present and future.

Father, God,

We thank You for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Keep our hearts faithful to you that we may not be found wanting in the day of accounting.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

 

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Finish The Job

Focus verses: Judges 2:1-5

Even though the land was given to the Israelites, they failed to fulfill their part of the bargain. The Lord promised that He would go before them and drive the inhabitants out of the land, but the various Israelite clans failed to dislodge all the people living in the land they were to occupy.

Reading between the lines, it looks to me like they tried to do God’s will in their own strength, without invoking the presence and power of the Lord. There is no mention that they asked the Lord to go before them in their campaigns.

When God gives us a job, we need to complete it. But we need to do it exactly as He said to do it. When we try to do God’s will in our own strength, we always fail.

God told the Israelites that because they failed to complete their mission, the inhabitants of the land would be a thorn in their sides and their gods would be a snare to them.

We need to be careful to rid ourselves of those things that can be a stumbling block for us. God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. But we need to do our part in driving out those things which distract us from Him and His will for our lives. Otherwise we, too, will have thorns in our side and snares waiting to trap us.

Father, God,

Help us to clean house in our lives. Shine the light of Your Holy Spirit on those things which would distract us from Your will, and go before us as we drive out everything but You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Live Long and Prosper

Focus verses: Deuteronomy 4:32-40

Just before the Israelites enter the Promised Land, Moses recaps their exodus from Egypt, their wandering in the wilderness, the miracles of the Lord, as well as their victories and defeats. This oral history is a summary of the lessons they should have learned during this trek.

Their victories came when God went before them, and they were obedient. Defeat was the order of the day when they went out on their own, or when they fell into idolatry.

We live in a different day. God is no longer as visible as He was for the Israelites. We don’t have Moses to go up the mountain and come back with the rules.

The fourth commandment reads something like this: Honor your father and mother that your days may be long in the land which the Lord is giving you.

And at the end of Moses’ recitation of their history coming out of Egypt, he says something very similar. Acknowledge the Lord and keep His commands so that it may go well with you and your children and you may live long in the land which He is giving you.

Acknowledge the Lord and keep His commands. Honor your father and mother.
It will go well with you and your children. You will live long in the land God is giving you. It is a road map for us today.

Faith in the Lord comes first. It is the only solid beginning for anything. Without God we can do nothing of lasting positive value.

Respect is another valuable quality. Respect for parents, family, the world around us. If you treat people with respect, you honor the Lord, because He is their creator as well. Treat all His creation as tenderly as you would your most precious possession. When you look at someone, remember that if that person had been the only person in the world, He would still have sent Jesus to redeem that one. If that person is so precious to God, we dare not treat him with contempt or impatience.

Following these two principles will get you far in this world. But most importantly, as you learn to make them a part of your life, you will feel better about yourself and everything else. There can be no better prosperity than living at peace with yourself and the remainder of the world.

Father, God,

Help us to keep our eyes on You, no matter the circumstances around us. Help us to see that precious soul You love in all we meet.

In Jesus most precious name.
Amen.

Intolerance or Purity

Focus verses: Numbers 33:50-56

When the Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land, they are told to utterly destroy the holy things of the people they are about to displace. They are told to drive out the inhabitants, not simply to conquer them.

God is not talking about vengeance here. He is talking about purity. If they allow the holy places of the pagans to remain, they will become what is legally known as “an attractive nuisance.” People are drawn to the forbidden. Tell a child not to go beyond a fence, and you can’t turn your back but what he’s trying to scale it, or burrow beneath it, or unlock the gate.

The Israelites are told to destroy the images and idols of the pagans. To demolish their places of worship. If they don’t do this, they will be tempted just to see what goes on there. To look at the idols and images as pieces of art. And they are apt to be seduced by what they see, and their worship of God will be adulterated.

In some sense, you can’t be both tolerant and pure. If you harbor people of differing beliefs, you must be strong and pure in what you believe, or you are apt to be led into believing half-ruths and innuendo.

God requires an undivided heart. If you give Him anything less, you are subject to judgment. He is a jealous God because He loves us. Not because he is a petty tyrant. He knows our propensity to be lead astray by curiosity, by idle wondering.

Father, God,

Help us to drive out anything that would hinder our fellowship with You. Show us the idols and high places in our lives so that we may destroy them in order to serve you better and draw nearer Your throne.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

An Accounting

Focus verses: Numbers 26:64-65

After forty years of wandering, the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land. God orders a census, a final accounting of the numbers of the men of Israel. This census will be the basis of the distribution of the lands.

Some of the tribes have increased; some have decreased. But the total number of Israelites is smaller. They have been diminished by their faithlessness and rebellions during these forty years.

Korah, the Levite who rebelled, was swallowed up, but God preserved a remnant of his line for entry into the promised land. God always preserves a remnant of the faithful.

Of all the men who followed Moses into the desert, only Joshua and Caleb are alive. The rest have died of one cause or another because the Lord told them they would die in the desert.

But why? Their sin was one of disbelief. God had told them He was giving them the land, but when they went to look at it, they became fearful of the inhabitants. And they believed their own eyes rather than God’s promise.

There is always a day of reckoning. Every action carries within itself the seed of its own reward or punishment. The faithlessness of those men of Israel resulted in their being denied entrance to the Promised Land. Conversely, the faithful report from Caleb and Joshua is rewarded by their being allowed to enter the Promised Land.

How will we stack up at the day of accounting? Have we been faithful to believe all that the Lord has told us? Have we been rebellious? Have we been lukewarm, S in our ardor to know Him better?

I’m so glad that our salvation doesn’t rely on our personal accounting. It relies, instead, on our belief in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross. Only Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient to cover all our shortcomings — past, present and future.

Father, God,

We thank You for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Keep our hearts faithful to you that we may not be found wanting in the day of accounting.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.