Friday, April 20, 2012
yours for the taking
The Word for today:
Literally, it means “the second law.” But that’s a little misleading. Actually, Deuteronomy tells the eternal “law” to the next generation. Same Word, new hearers.
Behind them, in the wilderness, was a national cemetery -- an entire generation who would not enter the land.
From that generation, only Caleb and Joshua -- the men of faith -- would cross over Jordan into the Promised Land:
I said to you, "You have now come to the mountain country of the Amorites, to the land the Lord our God will give us. Look, here it is! Go up and take it. Then all of you came to me and said, "Let's send men before us to spy out the land. They can come back and tell us about the way we should go and the cities we will find." I thought that was a good idea, so I chose twelve of your men, one for each tribe. They left and went up to the mountains, and when they came to the Valley of Eshcol they explored it. They took some of the fruit from that land and brought it down to us, saying, "It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us." But you refused to go. When the Lord heard what you said, he was angry and made an oath, saying, "I promised a good land to your ancestors, but none of you evil people will see it. Only Caleb son of Jephunneh (and) Joshua son of Nun (and) your little children that you said would be captured will go into the land. I will give the land to them, and they will take it for their own.” (excerpted from Deuteronomy 1:20-39)
Let’s stop right here to hammer a precept home. Though I know the precept and you know the precept, let’s hammer it deeper into our souls:
The Land, though promised to all, was only entered by those who believed. This principal prevails all the way to the cross. Let’s listen, again, to the Bible’s most well-known verse:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16/KJV)
The Promised Land, and the greater Promise of salvation through Jesus Christ, are given to all:
God so loved the entire world, and every last soul within it, that he gave…
But the promises are received only by those who believe:
…that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The fact that all are not saved can never be charged to God’s side of the covenant equation. God is a universal giver, but the people are not, universally, takers.
Jesus Christ urged his disciples to Take, and eat (1). We associate the phrase with the communion service, but we should not confine it to a ceremony.
It should also be applied to the milk and honey of the Promised Land, and to the fruit of the Spirit.
They are yours, for the taking.
(1) Matthew 26:26