The Promise Is Before You

See, I have set the land before you.  Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.  Deuteronomy 1:8 

In the midst of a crazy year, I had an epiphany-type-of-question pop into my head the other day:  why am I allowing 2020 to keep me from going after the goals and dreams God has for me?  It was a bit convicting and I know the Holy Spirit was at work with the thought even arising in the first place.  You see, this year has been a disappointment in a lot of ways.  It’s been a year to look at missed opportunities, closed doors, and failed attempts and in response to everything, just shrink back and be afraid to do anything at all.  I think into that mentality, God was trying to say “Hey I still have work for you to do and I still have plans for you.”  Life should never stop because of a pandemic or any other type of worldwide event.  The Gospel must never stop moving forward. 

What I share today I write out of my own experiences this year.  I have already been thinking a lot about 2021 and what is next on the horizon.  And perhaps this would be a great blog to end the year with.  But I don’t want to keep putting off things for a later time when God is clearly saying things for the here and now.  I don’t want to wait to step into His promise and move forward. 

I wrote a blog a few years ago called “Taking The Land.”  It was about the Israelites going into the Promised Land based upon the spies’ report from Numbers 13 and 14.  This same backdrop applies as we look at the Book of Deuteronomy and consider Moses’ last words to Israel as they enter the land God had for them.  You see for you and I, the promise is before us.  I believe if God has called us into something, He will give us the means necessary to be equipped and ready.  But the onus is still on us to “go.”  When we truly understand this and truly see that God is giving us “the land,” what could possibly hold us back from entering it?  If the events of 2020 have been a huge roadblock and stalled you out, I hope today’s blog gives you the courage to move forward.  I hope these words leave with you an expectation that God is going to do amazing things.  Let’s dive in! 

1. Plan expectantly 

See the LORD your God has set the land before you.  Deuteronomy 1:21 

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  This well-known phrase is a reminder that plans are part of the process of inheriting the promise God has.  We see throughout the course of Israel’s exodus and wilderness journey, God still had a plan for His people.  I believe God is a God of order and He communicates the course He wants for us…if we are willing to listen.  Wise words from Scripture convey this:  The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9.  That word “establishes” from the ESV shows up in other translations as “directs”, “determines”, or “decides”.  The God we serve is deliberate and has a path for us to follow.  We should align our plans to His and expect that He will guide us. 
How do we do this?  If we are in the word and in prayer, we are going to receive more direction than if we never open the Bible or never talk to the Lord.  For me that’s the “duh” moment in this and I’m sure it is for you as well.  But how many of us are walking through life saying “I wish God would show me His will and His plan” and never taking the time to actually spend time listening for His words?  God does not hide Himself from us.  He is not elusive or tricky to pin down.  No, He wants us to know the plans He has and part of that comes through developing an on-going, close relationship with Him. 

2. Go expectantly 

Go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers has told you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.  Deuteronomy 1:21 

If we’ve heard God’s voice and have an idea of what we are called to do, what is our response?  It seems obvious but for myself, my response in 2020 has been to become paralyzed by what has gone on around me.  God’s plans didn’t change.  He didn’t change.  But in response to the world around me, I changed.  I understand we’ve faced limitations and much of the shut-down and quarantine forced us to make some adjustments.  There were things thrown at us that we did not expect.  Still, none of what happened this year made for an excuse to not live out the Gospel or adapt to the conditions we faced. 
My charge to you and I in this blog is to say whatever the surroundings, the call of God is still to go and take possession of the inheritance.  Some of us (myself included), have missed opportunities and forfeited taking hold of the promise just because fear got in the way.  And it is clear in this verse (Deuteronomy 1:21), we are not to fear or be dismayed.  We’ve allowed too much to hold us back this year in the name of “safety” or “security” when really those words were cover for our own fear and lack of faith (I’m preaching here!).  If we are to live bold and courageous lives for the Lord, there will always be some risk.  But the risk vs. benefit ratio is always going to be worth it! 

3. Live expectantly 

And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.  Deuteronomy 1:39 

What would be “the land” today that God is calling you to take?  I realize that as I type this, I’m throwing out terms like inheritance and promise and they might seem vague and a bit nebulous at first glance.  But if you took a moment to consider your call in Christ, what is it that you are to move forward into?  Do you realize that if God lays some vision, some dream, some purpose on your heart, He is going to supply the means to do it?  Do you realize that He is committed to not just leading you into the battle but also fighting on your behalf?  The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight for you (Deuteronomy 1:30). 
If we have done all we can to plan and hear God’s call then we must move forward and go.  From there, we must settle in the land and live with the expectation that “this is what God wants me to do.”  We sometimes have to take those leaps of faith that say “God I trust You, even before I set eyes on the promise.”  Maybe that means cutting back at your “day job” to spend more time on your side hustle.  Maybe it means saying no to some things because they are cluttering the path to the promise.  Maybe it just means saying “I have the tools and resources around me to live in the land, I just need to start using them.”  Take possession of the land and start living with the expectation that God is going to do great things as you operate in the gifts, talents, and resources He has given you. 

As I close here today, it’s time for some real talk and some self-evaluation.  You don’t have to be honest with me, but you do have to be honest with the Lord.  Has 2020 brought disappointments and dejection to your spirit?  Are you standing on the sidelines thinking “How does life move forward and how do I keep serving the Lord in the ways I believe He’s called me to?”  Did you have big plans moving into this year that now seem shattered or at least a bit out of sorts with what you hoped?  I can be honest with you.  I did.  I still do.  And too often I allow myself to look back at this year disappointed by how I spent my time.  I wasted many hours by focusing on what was changing around me, rather than changing myself and my response instead. 

If we stay in that place of doubt and fear and disappointment, Satan wins.  Sorry to be brutally honest, but it’s true.  If we keep allowing ourselves to never take hold of the promise, the enemy gets the victory and we go home empty-handed.  But God will keep moving forward with or without us and He will raise up another to take up His call (it happened to Israel, it can happen to us as well).  So here’s the point:  don’t miss the promise.  It is literally right in front of you and within your grasp.  God is giving it to you, but it takes a level of faith and expectation on our parts to see it through.  Are you ready?  You don’t have to wait for 2021.  You can start now. 

I want to leave you with a prayer as a way to recenter our thoughts during this time.  My hope is that it gives you some guidance to move out and start taking the land again, especially if you’ve been on the sidelines. 

Father thank You for not leaving us or forsaking us, even when we have doubts or lack faith at times.  This year has brought its challenges and often I’ve felt too afraid to do what You are calling me to do.  Forgive me for my fear and for not trusting You.  I ask that You would once again show me Your plans.  Help me to see the vision You have for my life and begin to dream again.  I want to see Your plans unfold and to move forward.  Show me anything that holds me back or hinders me.  Let Your will be done in my life and let Your light shine through me.  Amen. 

Guys I love you and I love walking this journey with you.  Let me know how you are doing…shoot me an email and let me know how I can pray for you today.  God bless. 

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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

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