As I was reading in the book of Genesis today God revealed something to me that I wanted to attempt to articulate into something substantive. First of all I will unashamedly admit that I believe that Old Testament Israel is a picture of the church today, and that we have much to learn from them. Secondly I may be the only one, but I certainly get tired of what appears to be a less than idealistic life on this earth for the Christian. Thirdly, this is not some great theological discourse.
Most of us are aware that God promised the land of Canaan to the Israelites, and that this promise began with Abraham and was eventually fully realized when Joshua lead the Israelites in the conquering of Canaan. This was a period of approximately 550 years!
Why so long?
Wasn’t Abraham in Canaan when God promised him the land? The answer is yes. (Genesis 12:7) So why did Abraham (Abram at this time) leave? Obviously, God knew that Abraham was not ready for his inheritance and sent him back into Egypt via the famine that overtook the land. If you look at the growth of Abraham’s family you will see that they very easily could have overtaken a long time before Joshua came and conquered the land, and if you think like I do you will believe there would have been a lot less heartache involved. Not only was Abraham in Canaan that time but he was also back in Canaan, at the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah Abraham wandered out of Canaan again to the land of the Philistines.
I won’t give you any more history but you can read the stories of the successors of Abraham; Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s offspring who became slaves in Egypt in Genesis 12-50. I’ll end this part by saying that God had a plan and that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and those that followed after were blessed because they were willing to submit to God’s plan.
Look at this!
Abraham and his immediate offspring did not inherit the land, but his nephew Lot did.
Isaac and his immediate offspring did not inherit the land, but his half-brother Ishmael did.
Jacob and his immediate offspring did not inherit the land, but his elder brother Esau did.
Why, and what is the point?
The Christians of today, myself included, want to be like Abraham and have the promise of a future inheritance, and yet we want to live like Lot, and believe that we should work hard to gain everything we can today.
We also want to be like Isaac, and know that thru us flows the greatest treasure in the world, Jesus Christ, but we want to live like Ishmael and rule the world today.
Then we want to live like Jacob and produce great fruit, but yet we act like Esau in that we only want to do what is convenient for us.
It’s coming, and we should be willing to wait!
Hold on because our inheritance is coming and this world can never compare to the glory that awaits us.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9
Of course like everyone else I am waiting with bated breath for President-elect Obama to take office so I can begin to receive my check from the government. While I am definitely being facetious I am worried about another check. Several years ago I switched my check from my employer to direct deposit. While I waited for the direct deposit to go into effect I continued to deposit paychecks as I was paid. The next two paychecks I did not realize that they were only pay stubs and did not have a signature at the bottom of the check, so I deposited them as normal. The funny thing was that the tellers did not notice either and approved the stubs for deposit. You can imagine my horror when I opened a letter from my bank telling me that the last two deposits to my account were being removed. At the time I did not have online banking so all night and the next morning I worried about my bank account. Once the bank opened I was able to see that my checks had been direct deposited and that the bank had simply given me double credit by depositing the check stubs. What a relief to know that the balance was correct.
I thought about this last night and was struck by something. What is going to happen when I go to cash my spiritual checks? What happens when I have been making all of these deposits all along only to find out that they were bogus deposits and there is nothing in the account? What happens when the money runs out?
Eli deposited the check of tradition and routine and one day when bad news came his account was dry and he fell over dead. David deposited the check of worship by convenience and when he went to make a withdrawal and found his account empty he went off into a state of depression. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, deposited the check of receiving recognition for work, and found himself with an empty spiritual account and leprosy to boot. Saul made constant deposits with checks for future glory, and saw his son die on the battlefield with him, alone and without God’s help.
So what do I do if the deposits that I have been making all along are bogus and are not showing up in my account? What do I do when all has been self-serving, or for show and I need to make a withdrawal? Oh God grant me your grace, which I do not deserve.
I hate it when I make the same mistakes over and over. Usually they are made because I don’t think through what is happening and process the information before I act. The problem is that I have a very slow processor and a very active hard drive. Last week my wife interrupted me from being beaten by Lewis on the Wii. She very excitedly told me that there were some guys in our front yard trying to take down the street sign for the park up the road. Immediately the hard drive went into accelerator mode while the processor just began to whirr. (you know the sound a computer makes when you are waiting for something to finish) The hard drive said, “shoes, phone, call 911, grab the kids, tackle them, open the door, run, do SOMETHING. The problem is because the processor was struggling this is how those thoughts were processed. phone, tackle, truck, shoes, door, 911, kids, teens, truck. As it was I ran out the door while they were still in the front yard. Due to my haste I was still on the phone with 911, while I was running towards the truck. When the guys saw me coming they jumped into the back of the ISUZU RODEO and left quickly.
Why does it matter? Well first of all I feel pretty strongly about stealing street signs. http://www.sptimes.com/News/052201/TampaBay/Suddenly__stop_sign_c.shtml
Secondly, the street sign was for a park just a block from my house where my kids play all the time.
Thirdly, these teenage punks thought they were going to steal the sign from my front yard.
Fourthly, I haven’t tackled anyone in a long long time and I thought it would be pretty cool.
So where do the vise grips come in to play? Well in their haste to depart the scene the punks dropped a pair of vise grips. Seeing me coming with a full head of steam, and what probably looked to him like slow motion, he left them and jumped into the truck. So now I have another pair of vise grips, due to a slow working processor. There are so many other ways I could have handled this and probably would have caught these little crooks in a vise but my faulty processor hung me out to dry.
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