Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Promise or Present?

I once read somewhere that you can tell if a child is likely to be financially responsible using the following test: Tell the child they can either have $1 right now or $5 in a week. The premise is that the child who opts to wait a week has a better understanding of the value of money than the child who wants the money right away.

We see a similar situation in Numbers 32 as the Israelites are on their way to the Promised Land. The Reubenites and the Gadites, having a large number of cattle and coming upon a portion of land that was ideal for raising livestock, asked Moses if they could settle there instead of crossing the Jordan and continuing on to the Promised Land (Numbers 32:1-5). They wanted to forsake the promise of God for the perceived benefit of their present situation.

The irony of this is that the whole reason that they were on this journey was to go from the land that was not their own into that land that God had promised them. They were willing to abandon this journey to this great promise in order to settle for the good thing that they had come across along the way.

But how often do we do the same? We cry out to God to do something spectacular, to take us to a new place, to reveal to us our true calling or purpose, only to decide on the journey towards the place that God has promised us, that we'd rather settle for something that looks good based on what we currently have.

To go even further, the Reubenites and Gadites were prepared to escort the rest of the Israelites to their destination and then return to that spot to settle there. (Numbers 32:16-19). They had convinced themselves that the Promised Land could not be better than where they currently were.

There are two things here to take particular note of. Firstly, that their assessment of what was best for them was based on their current assets. Secondly, that without being certain of what was to come, they decided to go with the best based on what they had already seen. In short, they limited their idea of what the promise was based on the suitability of their present situation for what they had at the time. They didn't understand the value of God's promise.

Don't we still do this? God promises us something awesome and instead of continuing on to that promise, we settle for something else (which is good, but not what He promised) based on what we currently have. Our idea of what the promise of God truly is, is limited by our view of what we presently have. We don't give ourselves room to grow. We convince ourselves that the promise of God could not improve upon what we have found, even though we know that God does things beyond what we can fathom. (Eph 3:20 anyone?) In fact, digging deeper into that verse (i.e. reading it all the way through), we must realize that the "immeasurably more" that God can do comes through the "power that is at work in us". So why limit that power?

Which do you choose on your journey, the promise or the present?

Be blessed and shine without limits!

No comments:

Post a Comment

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23