The Good Land By Tracie Fritcher Johnson
What expectations do people have of the Christian faith? Once they commit to following Christ, do they expect life to be much easier? Do they assume things on the job will fall into place, their relationships will get better, and their finances will become secure? In addition to the expectations placed on God, what kind of expectations do people have for themselves?
As New Testament believers, living under the new covenant, we study the children of Israel in the Old Testament and draw parallels between their spiritual journey and our own. From the miraculous departure out of Egypt until the children of Israel crossed over Jordan into the Promised Land, the Lord continually protected and supplied the needs of the people. Remember how Yahweh hovered over them as a cloud by day and a fire by night? God’s presence provided both direction and protection from the hot sun and cold dessert evenings. Remember the manna, the quail that fell from the sky, and the water that poured from the rock? Consider their shoes which never wore thin during the miles and miles of travel. God provided for them and they lacked nothing.
Can we claim the promises Yahweh gave to those delivered from Egypt as spiritual promises for today? God miraculously provided for them. Do we expect God to do the same for us? Consider the following description of the Promised Land found in Deuteronomy 6:10-12.
“And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”
Upon reading this passage, one might deduct that living for God results in abundant blessings. However, without careful study, one might conclude the Promised Land is a place of wealth and prosperity where hard work and sweat is a thing of the past. By taking a closer look into the Scriptures, one notices that God intended for the people to labor in the Good Land given to them. It was not a place to sit and relax. Deuteronomy 8:7-19 provides another look at life in the Promised Land.
For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Deuteronomy 8:7-10
God’s blessings abound in the Promised Land, but it is a place of much productivity. Bread no longer falls from God’s hand, but is produced by human hands with the wheat and barley God supplies. Here, water is available in many places, but one must travel to collect the water and work to contain it. Fruit is abundant but must be picked and processed into wine and olive oil. Yahweh delivered the people from a place of slavery into a land of opportunity. The Promised Land was a place where the people of God could partner and be in covenant relationship, but they were also required to provide the labor necessary to make the land fruitful and productive.
Our spiritual journey is much the same. God is still delivering people from slavery. God continues to do miracles in our lives to demonstrate power and sovereignty. Yet, when God brings us to the Good Land promised, God expects us to put our hands to the plow and harvest. All the treasures God provides are available only when we put forth the effort and time the land.
What have you been expecting from God? Have you been disappointed, feeling as if God has not come through on the promises? Could it be while you are waiting on God to deliver, God is waiting on you to labor? Is refreshing water what you lack? Are you in need of the bread of spiritual nourishment? Are you holding tightly to a specific promise? Talk with God today about how God desires you to partner with Him in each area so He can bless you in abundance.
Copyright 2015 Tracie Fritcher Johnson and Crystal Schmalz Ministries