Here is today’s Calendar…another row completed! Half-way to Christmas Eve!
December 12th | The Promised Land
Bible Background: The “Promised Land” is the land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants, the land called Canaan. It represented God’s place of rest for His people; a place where there would be no suffering or hard work. Moses wasn’t allowed to enter into the Promised Land because he abused his power in anger (Numbers 20). Joshua was Moses’ apprentice since his youth and a mighty warrior. The River Jordan is a place of change; whenever it is mentioned in the Bible, you can be sure God is about to change something significant (Reuben, Dick. Our Great High Priest. [MP3.] 1995).
Bible Study Question: God’s promise of the Promised Land has a double meaning. The first meaning is the physical land of Canaan. Read John 14:1-3 and Hebrews 4:6-10: what else does the Promised Land represent?
Today’s Main Idea: Moses couldn’t convince the first generation of the liberated Hebrews to trust God; he died in the wilderness with them, never setting foot in Canaan. In a similar way, the Law can’t force us have faith in God and enter His place of rest. God had to kill off the disbelief in His people to raise a new generation with a new spirit (attitude) that was determined to inherit God’s promises. Sometimes we have to go through our own wilderness until everything that is disbelieving, discontented, suspecting, and self-destructive dies off in us and we are finally prepared to live life God’s way. We can go to church all our lives and still be Prodigal at heart! It takes so much for us to be willing to trust Him, truly trust Him, in a way that forever shapes and changes our attitudes as well as our behavior. Think how much bolder and more accurate our prayers would be if we truly trusted God and took Him at His Word; we could see more miracles and answered prayers if we would approach God in belief–not just for the things He can do–but in a revelatory acknowledgment of His care, provision, and good plans for us. What a load of care we would lay at His feet! What difficulties we would overcome in His Name! A Promised Land “on this side of the Jordan”, in the land of the living, that would certainly be!
Jesus is a lot like Joshua:
- He was raised under the Mosaic Law in much the same way that Joshua was trained by Moses.
- Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan at the beginning of His ministry at the same spot that Joshua had to lead Israel through the Jordan in order to get them to the Promised Land (Stone, Perry. The Melchisedec Priesthood. [Online Digital.] November 16 2012) !
- In fact, the name Jesus is Aramaic; since Jesus was a Jew, his Hebrew name was also Joshua!
Jesus is preparing our place of Rest; we have to enter it by faith in Him.
Application: Jesus is associated with Peace at Christmas. The angels heralded it. We sing about it…”All is calm, all is bright“…yet for many of us, we never enter into His rest, into that state of inner peace that is a preview of eternal peace. Ironically, Christmas can be the most stressful and least peaceful time of all! A lot of our restlessness centers around two things; (1) worry and (2) complaining. These things plagued the unbelieving generation of Hebrews wandering (and ultimately buried) in the wilderness.
If we want to experience God’s peace this Christmas, we need to trust Him. We need to trust He will give us the words and inspire the actions to endure conflicts with a godly attitude that promotes His peace. We need to trust Him if He puts limits on our consciences to what we can buy, what we can eat, and how to celebrate so we can have a peace about what we are doing. We need to trust that if we keep Him first, this Christmas will be a meaningful one even if it isn’t as lavish as we would have liked, even if nothing went to plan, because He IS our peace.
Trusting God in practical terms does mean obeying Him, but it also means refusing to worry and refusing to complain. Let’s ask God for what we need…with thanksgiving! Let’s give Him our worries…with praise! Let’s invite Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to make Himself manifest in our lives this Christmas by submitting our restless souls to the government that rests upon His shoulders, and trust that He will make good on every promise as He brings Divine change into our lives. He will deliver us into His Rest.
Prayer: Father God, please help me to trust You with all my heart. Please remove the parts of me that won’t obey You. Give me the courage and strength you gave Joshua and Jesus to accomplish mighty things. Help me to enter Your promised rest. In Jesus’ Name; Amen.
Family Activity: Desert Diorama. Arrange damp sand and rocks in a small tray to make a desert scene. Cut Q-Tips ™ in half to make Hebrews with cotton heads and stick bodies. Color their heads to make faces with markers. Use markers and construction paper to make clothes for your Q-Tip™ Hebrews/Israelites. Leave the bottom third of the stick untouched so you can poke your Q-Tip™ into the sand. Act out some of the scenes from the Exodus.
If you enjoyed today’s ADVENT post, please share using one of the many options below. Thanks!