february 26th - move forward
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, "Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, 'Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.' " Josh 1:9-11 (NKJV)
In between the Hill Country of Texas and El Paso is a whole lot of windswept desert wilderness. On my last unending trip across the wilderness of West Texas I saw a ranch about a mile off the road near a dry ravine. I remarked to my wife, “Who would want to live here out in the middle of no-where?” Obviously, it wasn’t “no-where,” but it’s got to be close! There wasn’t another ranch house visible in any direction. There wasn’t a tree or a plant over 3 feet tall. It was desolate. I certainly didn't feel anything beckoning or drawing me to move to that part of Texas.
I’m fairly certain that there are people who love living out in the desert—out in the middle of nowhere—out where no-one else lives—out where the wind is a constant force to be reckoned with. I’ll admit—there is an austere beauty in the West Texas wilderness; I just don’t want to live there.
Israel, had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. For most of the nation, wilderness living was all they knew. They were accustomed to life in that place. It defined and
shaped them; However, it was not the Promised Land and Israelites had reached the appointed time to move forward. It was time to give up what they had settled for in exchange for what God had promised. From shrubs to trees. From
sand to soil. From tumbleweeds to vineyards. From locusts to milk and honey.
God gave a message to Joshua aimed at motivating his reluctant campers: "Be strong and full of courage, for the Lord your God is with you..." That is always the case with God’s people. God is with us—always with us. The Great Commission ends with these encouraging words from Jesus, “And Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Maybe…just maybe, you have settled for living in the wilderness when God has a Promised Land prepared for you. Go ahead, shake off the dust of mediocrity and move forward with strength and courage. There is no reason to be afraid or dismayed, for God is with you!
Author's Note: I know that I'm already in trouble with those that love or hail from West Texas. Sorry--I'm a serious tree lover. I think that Believers often "settle" for less under the guise of being content. I believe that the state of "content" is where we should live; However, that doesn't rule out the possibility of moving forward in faith. Are you living in the Promised Land designed for you? RJD