Is there something in your life that keeps beating you down? Is there an issue that you are wrestling with on a reoccurring basis? Do you have a proverbial enemy in a known sinful habit?
Deuteronomy 7: 17 and 18 reads, “If you say in your heart, “These nations are more than I: how can I dispossess them?” You shall not be afraid of them: but shall well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh and unto all Egypt.”
God’s chosen people, the Israelites, had just come out of Egypt after hundreds of years of slavery. The circumstances of their release were miraculous. (Who doesn’t have a mental image of Charlton Heston on the cliff overlooking the Red Sea at this moment?) Now the people are in the wilderness, contemplating the “Promised Land.” The area is lush with vegetation, and in all other ways appeals to them. The problem that keeps them from going forward is that the land is already inhabited.
God has a “Promised Land” awaiting your possession. Have you ever given thought to the glorious peace of following fully in the will of God? There is an “abundant life” promised. John 10:10 declares, “The thief cometh not, but for the steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
What is in the way of your promised land? What is it that is already taking up space in your life that is preventing your moving forward? Are there sinful habits or that you have come to see as bothersome and downright annoying, but have resigned yourself to them as being a natural part of just who you are? Have you decided to let them live on your promised ground?
It is time to do hard things! We are facing the gap between the life we are promised in Christ, and the life we see every day in the struggle against sin. This text in Deuteronomy speaks to that glaring gap. How do my thoughts need to shift as I consider these things?
Let me paraphrase: “If you say to yourself, these sins I struggle with are more powerful than I am: how can I ever get free of them?” God says, I won’t be fearful and anxious about them when I remember what God has done, in the past, to bring about my freedom.”
Our thoughts need to shift subjects before the hard things will be accomplished. We are called to shift our focus from self to God. It is true: I can’t, but God can! Let’s compare John 15:5 and Philippians 4:13.
John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
As we continue reading in Deuteronomy chapter 7 we will see in verses 17 and continuing through verse 24 that we need God’s perspective on doing these hard things. Count the times in these verses that God says He will do it versus that mention of the Israelites doing it.
Verse 19: “God do”
Verse 20: “…the Lord thy God will…”
Verse21: “…the Lord thy God is among you…”
Verse 22: “…the Lord thy God will…”
Verse 23: “But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.”
Verse 24: “And He shall…”
God promises that He will do it and make a complete work of it. Just as He worked with His people in times, past to clear out the inhabitants of their Promised Land, He will work with you and I today, to clear out the annoyance of known sin from preventing us from moving forward into our glorious life of promise.
It is clear to see the definite message: “God will do it for you. Just show up.” Focus less on how hard the job is, and how weak we are to do it, and more on How strong and mighty our God is to save. Show up to participate with God. Be surrendered to His will and His ways.
See you in the Promised Land!