Wednesday, March 23, 2016

DJD323 - Promise Land - Take 2

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Isaiah 65:17-18

Starting Question:

How would you encourage someone (maybe yourself?) who says, “There is so much I still want to do before Jesus comes”?

Promise Land - Take 2

40 years later, Joshua and Caleb stood together on the shore of the Jordan River peering across to Promised Land again. The silence deepened as they both remembered the unfortunate result all those years ago.

They had spied out the land. They had brought back a glowing report. They carried back samples of the land’s bounty to win the hearts of the people of Israel. But, the other 10 spies had nothing good to say about Canaan. The Giants were too big. The walls were too strong. The land God had promised was a horrible land, they said.

And God had become enraged. He threatened to destroy every last one of the Israelites. It was only the brave heart and words of Moses that saved them. He reminded God of how much He loved the people he had called out of Egypt. He had set them free not because they were worthy but because He was gracious. God listened to Moses. And forgave the people.

But they didn’t go into the Promised Land. God let them wander throughout the desert on the wrong side of Jordan for 40 more years. He allowed Israel time to recognise their mistake.

God’s promise to give His people the land “flowing with milk and honey” still stood. And now, all these years later, they had returned to the Jordan River, this time fully intending on taking the land promised to them.

They were not the same people they had been 40 years before. As a nation, they were older and wiser. And a new crop of young families now lived among them that did not remember Egypt -— they only knew what they heard in the stories told by parents and grandparents. All, old and young alike, were tired of the desert and ready to accept God’s promise.

“It seems like a lifetime ago,” Joshua said peering across the river.

“Yes,” Caleb replied. “But I’m still excited about it! It really is a glorious land.”

“True,” Joshua said. “Do you realise, of the twelve who spied out the land, we are the only two who will enter it?”

“Oh my,” Caleb said, “Have they all died? All ten of them?”

Joshua nodded his head, “Living with such bitterness and negativity clearly shortens one’s lifespan.”

Caleb gave a little laugh in response. “Indeed. And a complainer’s life is not much of a life, anyway.”
Joshua nodded. “I’m not sorry for them. They were nothing but trouble since that trip into Canaan. But I am sorry for Moses. He would have crossed over with us.”

Caleb placed a comforting hand on his friend’s shoulder, “He is at peace now. No more leadership stresses for him. They are all yours now!”

“Oh thanks,” Joshua said, turning to look at Caleb. “And just like always, you will be my right-hand man!”

“Lead on, fearless leader!” Caleb said with a smile. “Take us into the promised land!”

Reflection Question:
Imagine the different emotions that would have gone through the minds of people as they re-approached the Jordan River — 40 years after their first visit. Consider what thoughts and emotions would have been going through the mind of Moses, Joshua, Caleb?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

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