Standing on the Edge of the Promised Land
Today I feel a bit like Joshua must have felt….standing there next to Caleb…..with thousands of his people behind him…..that morning that He heard God say, “It’s yours, Jacob. After walking in the dessert for all these many years, after eating nothing but manna, after having ‘just enough’ for all these years, today, you will own the promised land. It’s your day Joshua. How do you feel?”
I can imagine Joshua smiling back at God…..maybe tiny tears start forming in the corner of his eyes……his heart begins to beat wildly and he has no words. How can he express this feeling when he has never felt it before? He has long dreamed of this day. His feet are dusty and cracked from the heat of the sun and the ever-present sand that is between his toes. His forehead is marked with lines of worry and struggle, because despite the fact that God has prepared him, each day has had its challenge.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the sight of the land that in a few moments will become his, he quietly surveys the green hills, the grapes as big as watermelons, the streams that flow through the valleys–it is beautiful– it is bountiful– it is his promised land……he looks beyond the horizon and squints his eyes, knowing that ‘yes’, there are still giants lurking, hidden behind the beauty of the landscape– they are waiting and watching–giant mountains of men who want to stop Jacob from stepping into his greatness. But he doesn’t look for them long.
Smiling broadly he looks over at his buddy, Caleb. His smile becomes a rumbling chuckle in his throat and he thinks to himself, “Here we are 2 old men finally about to walk into our destiny! To claim our victory. God surely has a sense of humor!” God leans in to look deeply into Jacob’s eyes. “What are you thinking Jacob, how do you feel?” Still speechless Jacob thinks to himself, “You’re God, you know exactly what I’m thinking and how I feel!”
One of the tears makes its way to the outer edge of his eye and escapes and trickles quickly down his dirt-streaked face, leaving a tiny snake-like reminder that it was there. Before it can fall to freedom Jacob takes his burly hand and impatiently wipes it away, smearing all evidence of its momentary existence.
Jacob looks deep into God’s eyes and whispers, “I’m a little afraid.” He keeps his eyes on the Master waiting for His reaction….he dares not glance to his right as Caleb is standing shoulder to shoulder….waiting for the moment that he can take his mountain.
God seemed pleased by his honesty and even though neither moved, Jacob felt the strength and the warmth of God’s Hands on his shoulders.
“We have walked through this dessert together. I never left you then and I will not forsake you now. You WILL eat from the fruit of the vine. You ARE about to enter into #MiracleTerritory. Nothing and no one can stop you. There are mountains to conquer but I will be with you every step of the way. Be bold and courageous, Jacob. The land is yours–and there is plenty for all. Those who have been on this journey with you, they will also eat from the fruit of the land! They are looking to you to lead them there. Stand strong and be of great courage. Do not be afraid. I am with you.”
Jacob turned to look into the eyes of the many who stood behind him. He wondered, “Did they just see what I saw? Did they hear God’s Words whispered in their ears?” They stood waiting for his word, his signal that they were to take that next step, the moment they too had been waiting for….it was so quiet one could hear a pin drop as they say…..no one moved. Jacob looked at each face and sweet memories flooded his body. Memories of nights in the dessert when everything was quiet and they gathered to dream of this day. To pray and talk of this day–to imagine how they would feel this day–and now it was here, spread before them in the grandeur that only the Lord could provide…..and it was theirs. They had been created for this very day. Not just for themselves, but for the many generations who would follow.
He knew that one day his children’s children’s children would hear about this day and share every detail. He knew that this “moment in time” wasn’t just for him, it wasn’t just for Caleb, it wasn’t for the tribes of people who stood behind him. No– it was bigger than all of them. Much bigger. It was a moment in time when he could walk boldly into his destiny~ or~ turn back and live in mediocrity–in the “known” challenges of the dessert instead of facing these new and unknown ones that lie before him.
The moment seemed like forever as he stood looking into the eyes of those who had followed him to the edge of the land. He smiled broadly and the lines around his eyes were deep as he looked out at those waiting, “This land is ours! God promised it to us! Let’s walk hand in hand, arm in arm, boldly into it and let’s never look back. The same God who got us here will protect us there! Let’s celebrate today victory over every fear, every doubt, every lie that the enemy has told us–let’s claim our land and let’s always remember it is God who set us free! It is God who supplies the grapes and the water and the grass. Let’s never put our trust in the land, but in our God! It isn’t the land that supplies our needs–it’s our God. And He is big and He is strong and He told me to walk boldly into my purpose. And even though I don’t know what to do or how to do it, I know He will show me! Now…..let’s go eat some grapes!”
The Book of Joshua begins:
“And it was after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, that the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, ‘Moses my servant has died and now arise and cross the River Jordan. You and all this nation go to the land which I give the Children of Israel. Every place on which the soles of your feet will tread I have given to you, as I have spoken to Moses. No man shall stand up before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you. I will not weaken my grasp on you nor will I abandon you. Just be strong and very courageous to observe and do in accordance with all the Torah that Moses my servant has commanded you. Therefore, do not stray right or left in order that you will succeed in wherever you go.'”