Archives for posts with tag: glory

promised land 2

What if the “Promised Land” is literally the territory that becomes Israel in the Bible…AND figuratively the blessings of God on the obedience of His people? What if our study of Old Testament history is meant to lead us to deeper understanding of both God’s will for all his people, and God’s will for us individually? I believe God set aside a geographic place, but I also believe God prepares a “promised land” that is unique for each of His children. It may be a geographic place. It may be a relationship or a ministry or a front row seat to see God at work…it was all those for the ancient Hebrews. There are some things that were true about the promised land God gave to his people back then that are also true for each of us as we seek God’s will for us right now.

 We have to separate themselves from what has been and allow God to do a new thing. God required that Abraham leave Ur and that the Hebrews leave Egypt in order to inhabit a different place. They could not have become the people God intended them to be if they had refused to obey God’s instructions. For us, that may not necessarily mean physical relocation, but it will mean that we have to let go of things that keep us bound to the past, or prevent us from seeing new things about ourselves and about God.

 Getting from where we are to the promised land God calls us to is not a magic miracle; it is a journey. There will be times in the wilderness. The journey to possess our promised lands may be fraught with tests and tribulations intended to make us strong enough to overcome the “giants” that already live there. Dwelling in our promised land will require that we trust God more than we fear those who oppose us, that we want what God chooses for us more than we want what we’ve chosen for ourselves.

 Promised lands are not a one-time gift; they have to be defended. Satan is threatened by those who obey God’s call on their lives and inhabit the promised lands God gives them. But when we stand firm in what we know is God’s call on our lives, God fights the battles for us, just as He fought for the ancient Hebrews as they moved forward into Canaan to possess their land.

 God led those ancient peoples each step of the way. They walked across the Red Sea on dry land as they left Egypt; they walked across the Jordan River on dry land as they arrived in their promised land. And in between, they saw some of the most magnificent miracles recorded in the Bible.

 God still leads those who will follow. May we let go of the things that prevent us from knowing the full measure of His blessing on our lives, and may that process let us see His glory and allow us to fully trust Him for our next step forward.

 

glory 4

It came down from heaven, and the people watched as it filled the Tabernacle and the Temple. David wrote that heavens declare it in every language. It reflected from Moses’ face. The angels proclaimed it on in their greeting to the shepherds, and it transfigured Jesus’ appearance. Gospel songs remind us that we’re going there. In Jesus’ last prayer before he was arrested, he asked God to reveal his glory to his disciples and to let his glory be manifested in those who believe in him.

We use it to describe some things that are too big or too deep for words. It is a mystical blend of magnificent and holy and precious and important. But seeing the glory of God comes at a cost. The Hebrews had to consecrate themselves and their camp before God’s glory would dwell among them. Moses had to hide in the cleft of the rock as God’s glory passed by. Isaiah’s view of God’s glory cost him an honest assessment of his sin.

The mundane comes cheaply and easily, and too often we learn the hard way that “You get what you pay for”. When we take the easy way out, we miss the glory of great achievement. When we refuse risk doing something new or different, we will achieve nothing new. Seeing God’ glory right here on earth will cost us the control we pretend to have, and will require our obedience. And it will give an unquenchable thirst for more of his presence. God’s glory is free to all, but it is not cheap.

My pastor reminded us a few weeks ago that we are going to “spend our lives”. What we choose to “spend” our lives on determines what they are worth. Jesus willingly “spent” his life for you. On that last night of his life, Jesus could have gone somewhere Judas couldn’t find him. He could have left Gethsemane as he saw the Romans and Jews coming down the hill from the city to get him. He could have skipped Passover in Jerusalem that year. He could have called down angels from heaven to destroy those who wanted to execute him. But he chose to pay the price….because you are worth that to him. He spent his life earning your spot in glory – now and in heaven.

How you spend your life can bring Him glory. Choosing to reflect His glory into your world will bring you magnificence, holiness, and precious purpose. Don’t settle for cheap and easy. Those things seldom matter, will not last, and almost always end in disappointment. Aim for His glory. It absolutely matters and will last an eternity.

angels

God sent one angel to announce the birth of Jesus and tell the shepherds how they could find the holy family. Then a whole “host” of angels showed up with a different proclamation.

 Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

Glory to God and peace to men – that is what the birth of Christ brought to earth that night. The angels proclaimed glory to God who loved his stubborn, disobedient people so much that nothing would prevent him from dwelling with them. And they proclaimed heaven’s peace to men who could not seem to find or create peace for themselves. There was no immediate change in the lives of the shepherds that night. After the angels disappeared, their circumstances were unchanged. The sheep still needed to be watched. Their family and economic situations were unchanged. And they faced a new day with no sleep. But their hearts and expectations were changed. Those shepherds who were so afraid of the sudden appearance of the angels did what the angels told them to do…and they saw God.

Luke 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Looking at all the strife in our hearts and our headlines, it seems we need the same thing today. Giving glory to God often takes a back seat to our comfort zone, our agenda, and political correctness. Too often when God comes to us, we are too busy, too hopeful for our own glory. We forget or refuse to honor the one who has come to us over and over, who has blessed us, who loves us so much he refuses to let go of us. We don’t give praise and glory to the only one who deserves it…and that robs us of our peace.

I suspect our peace here on earth is rooted in our ability to choose to see the glory of God in the midst of all the other stuff in life. God never promised to grant all your wishes, but over and over he promised his presence. May you hear the proclamation of the angels with new insight this Christmas, and may that knowledge lead you to see God in the midst of the circumstances of your life. Let the honor you show to God bring you deep peace.