Still on my Bible in one year journey and I must say, I get more excited each day and look forward to another morning to get served another portion of this wonderful soul delicacy. The YouVersion app does an amazing job with the daily texts from the Psalms/Proverbs, Old Testament and the New. It all makes sense and I’m now able to appreciate it better as I read with understanding.
Now on the book of Deuteronomy, after reading the several accounts of the Israelites turning away from the Lord and me wondering what was wrong with them (the Holy Spirit prompting me about how many times I’ve fallen short and how much I’m in need of His mercy), the Israelites are finally about to enter the Promised Land; a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses gives them his final advice before he clocks out; his fate already sealed due to an act of disobedience.
One thing that struck me was that God repetitively warned the people that the land they were about to enter was full of idolatry and their only chance of serving Him wholeheartedly was to completely do away with the idols before they settled in. The land literally might be fertile and resourceful but the spiritual atmosphere was somewhat compromised; and the only way to make it safe for them was to take away the source of the pollution.
God didn’t tell them to face the temptation and do their best to resist it. He knew their weakness and telling them to ‘survive’ it would turn out to be disastrous. Working hard to prove our immunity to sin can be pointless because the flesh we are made of is inherently sinful.
Anyway, back to my lesson for today, the fact that God has opened a door for you doesn’t mean there isn’t trouble brewing there. The Israelites had endured 400 years in oppression in Egypt and God being faithful, took them out. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness (a journey that should have taken 11 days), God was offering them the land of Canaan as their inheritance but there was some work to be done.
So I guess there’s almost always some trouble brewing in every paradise. It doesn’t make paradise any less than it is but you underestimate the trouble at your own peril. You must enter every new place with your ‘eyes opened’ so nothing takes you by surprise. Some things might appear harmless and well below our spiritual radar but if you’re not careful, they would creep on you and before you realize it, it has infiltrated your thought process and changed you.
God does give rest to His people like He did for Solomon so that there was no war between Israel and its enemies but the rest didn’t take away the spirit of idolatry that had been lurking around him. Eventually, one of the wisest men to have ever lived on this earth, fell to the temptation of idolatry.
Let’s be careful so that in the excitement we feel about some breakthrough we’ve experienced, we won’t lose sight of the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ standing in the middle which could cause our downfall.
It could be the job you’ve always wanted. You shouldn’t let your guard down because everyone at the office is smiling at you. An unhappy colleague could be plotting something to get you kicked out as soon as possible.
When God gives you the go-ahead to enter the Promised Land, don’t think He has cleared all the unworthy things there. You have to prove your faith by striving to keep yourself pure.
The best thing is to ask the One who opens doors, what we should look out for on the other side and give us the grace to overcome any obstacle.
No paradise comes cheap. May we receive the wisdom, strength and favor to preserve ourselves in every new territory and keep winning.