Tag Archives: Promised Land

The Part of Salvation that I Didn’t Ask For

Galatians 6:12-14

As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Few battles have been harder and more sorrowful fought by me than those with “religious” people. Religion is so easy, but faith… woah baby! There’s nothing easy about it, although it should be the other way around. The Abrahamic Covenant of circumcision was commanded in Genesis 17:7-14 as an outward sign of a man’s participation in Israel’s covenant with God.

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.  And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

The covenant still stands, but no longer by an outward observance, but by an inward commitment. And yet, the world is constantly in need of an outward sign that we have an inward Savior. Something, anything that they can do. They want the law because that makes good sense to them; but when you think back about the road leading to that Abrahamic Covenant, are they willing to follow through? The point of the whole Abrahamic Covenant was that Abraham was willing to kill his own son, his only son because God had ask it. And because of his faith that God would take care of him, God covenanted with Abraham to insure that his descendants would forever be provided for. I’ll take faith any day!

Faith is not hard for me when I look back through history and see that God has indeed done everything He promised for Israel. Jesus didn’t come to break the covenant, He came to fulfil it! And because of His sacrifice, Shari Johnson, the non-Jewish girl has been grafted into the family of God. Mercy and Grace, that’s what I call it!

So, regarding my comment on battling the religious… The religious I’ve battled have been those who look at me in the flesh, the sinful, mistaken ridden Shari who fails God daily. They criticize my zeal and mock my stand for separation from the world. They cannot see inside my heart is a passion for their soul regardless of whether or not they love me. It is only there because of what Christ did on the cross for me. It came with salvation. What they don’t understand is , I didn’t ask for that part of salvation; the “unconditional love for others part” that sometimes I’d like to give back. But it was a package deal. And I’m glad, because I too need it.

Because I’m an utter failure there are often things in my life that don’t point to the cross, except one – the covenant of love for God’s people that makes me want to see every one of them heading towards that land… the Promised Land.

Just Shy of God’s Intentions

Numbers 32:5-7 ~ Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.  And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them?

I love a preacher that challenges me to live better. It was hard at first coming from a fairly liberal attitude into a conservative church that preached Hell hot and Heaven real and both 20 seconds away. I have no clue what it is like being on the battlefield of a foreign country, but I know quite well what it feels like to a foreigner in my own land. When I stepped out for the cause of Christ I became an adversary to many that I had stood in agreement with before salvation. When I heard the truth about Jesus and understood the sacrifice He had made I couldn’t turn back. I was moving forward to that land I’d been promised. I was excited. Heaven was real and I’d not have my mind changed. But not everyone shared my enthusiasm.

Many Christians today live contently on the edge of Jordan. They’re satisfied living just shy of God’s intentions, because that would take commitment. Rueben and Gad parked their families on the land east of Jordan and went halfheartedly over to help take the Promised Land for Israel but only because Moses made them feel guilty. I say they were halfhearted because they left their family on the other side; while they were willing to fight for the cause their minds had to have been on how things were progressing at home. They knew going in that this wasn’t their land, they were going back to the other side.

Halfhearted Christianity has taken its toll on the church. It’s hard to stay committed in church leadership when the army doesn’t even bother to show up. What a fine example the children of Rueben and Gad were given when their father’s left them on the other side. It must have spoken volumes toward their need to be involved in the battle.  Summer time is a real good time to have this conversation when Sunday after Sunday attendance is down, and while family vacations are understood and needful, few people have 3 months of vacation.

Rueben and Gad were unwilling to relinquish their old ways and be fully committed to Israel’s cause and because of it they and their entire family lived just shy of the Promised Land. Just shy of having everything God wanted them to have. The same holds true when we fail to commit to church attendance and involvement in the ministries, we’re living just shy of having everything God wants to give us. It’s an honor and privilege to serve in the army of God, but you can sense Moses’ frustration when he has to say to them “Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them?”

Don’t for two seconds buy the lie that nobody notices when you’re gone. Folks like me notice! Not because I’m a busy body but because I love you! And your family.  It’s discouraging to church leadership and to the Pastor when half of our heart is missing. Stay faithful! And go all the way for Jesus. Don’t stop just shy of the Promised Land.