September 15, 2010

The Movement of God - 18

Land symbolizes firmness, security, wealth & permanency.  Land is a picture of what we long for in desiring God Himself - a home from which no one can remove us.  The first land God picked out for human beings to dwell in was called Eden.  The second was called Canaan, which was promised to Abraham's descendants, for eons.

The firmness of land, though, has always been a relative thing.  Kings and paupers alike can struggle with holding onto much land for much time.  And while some bloodlines have passed down land for centuries, every plot of earth on this planet eventually gets taken by somebody else.  We are dust, we return to the dust, and then even our dust gets repossessed by another.  So much for (earthly) permanency.  And yet permanency is something we all covet, on Earth.

In the wilderness, Israel also was coveting land.  Having fled from Egypt, it didn't take long for the Israelites Jacobites to get tired of wandering, tired of manna, and tired of waiting on God.  Most human beings require some semblance of order and stability, in order to thrive.  And like most people on Earth, Israel wanted a land she could call her own.

Fortunately for Israel, God wanted that for her, also.

Now, God definitely had a plan for his people to enter their Land... and God absolutely had the power to bring them into it safely, and to keep them there safely for a very long time... and God had long known this would be his plan - since before Abraham!

But God also knew very well that this land was a far cry from the ideal Garden where God's life had grown so abundantly.  That land had divinity in the water!  That land had divine life in its fruit!  This land was going to require sweat of the brow, just to provide sustenance.

This land was NOT Eden.  Milk and honey are not quite the Tree and the River of Life.

But milk and honey weren't even the point.

Remember, God's whole mission so far - from Eden to the Exodus - has been aimed at recruiting people who might walk with Him.  So God wanted Israel to live in one place, yes, but he wanted them stay active as well.  God knew the Promised Land would establish Israel and bring her provision, security, longevity, esteem, and eventually considerable wealth.  Such necessary aspects of stability happened to be vital parts of God's plan.  He wanted Israel to increase in their Land.

But... All these aspects of Land were just as equally dangerous.  They might make Israel too secure.  Once such benefits were at hand, would the Israelites still cry out to God as they had while in Egypt?  Would they still long for his daily deliverance?  Would they trust his direction?  Would they follow?

Would they walk with him, once they had come to rest?  When their Exodus journey was over, once they got settled, would they ever again feel so moved by the old, nomadic God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob?

It seemed unlikely.  Maybe that's one more reason the Law came in - that awareness of sin might increase.

And yet, and yet, and yet...

As the Movement of God  s l o w l y  made its way towards the Promised Land, God was making great efforts to illustrate for Israel just how important mobility was.

To be continued...

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