Here is an entry from September 13, 2012, which showed me that sometimes, even our gifts must be fought for!
*Spanish Version from TLA can be found at the bottom!
Deuteronomy 1:8 (The Message Translation):
Look, I’ve given you this land. Now go in and take it. It’s the land God promised to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their children after them.
It’s amazing to me how many verses I have read so many times and just skimmed the surface of the treasure that was hidden within! Reading this verse really woke me up this time around!
*Now, I don’t do this every time, but I think it’s important to translate this passage word-for-word, so that you can see what I was seeing… so, here is my word-for-word, type translation from the Spanish version:
“Go in and Conquer this territory, since I promised Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob that I would give it to them. I also promised that I would give it to you since you are their descendents.”
Ok, so get this… Sometimes, God has given us something in advance that we still have to claim. What?! You mean, not everything God has chosen to give to me will be delivered to my front porch with a Big Satin Bow placed neatly on top?!?!
So, God gave the Israelites this land… the Promised Land … flowing with milk and honey, as it were. Yet, in order for them to actually possess it, they had to literally, NOT metaphorically… FIGHT for it!
They had to want it…they had to want it real bad…they had to NEED it.
You see, God had originally promised it to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, along with their descendents after them. However, the 1st generation wasn’t willing to risk anything to acquire what God had ordained for them to posses. They were pretty cozy; they liked being spoon fed. In other words, if God didn’t have it sitting on a platter with a cherry on top, they weren’t getting outa bed for it.
*So, I asked myself… Do I want to be like that? or am I willing to take a risk?*
Don’t get me wrong, the Israelites had at least a little reason to be afraid. I’m not condemning them for their lack of faith, b/c I might have been right there with them.
Humor me, and Imagine being an Israelite, just for a sec:
This guy named Moses leads you and a group of countless others out of Egypt where you were once enslaved. That’s pretty AWESOME! You don’t really know much about the guy, except that he believes he’s being led by God. Well, he did help to free you, so you should probably follow him to this so-called, Promised Land, everyone is talking about… besides, where else are ya gonna go?
So, you start out on this trek through the desert, and it starts to get a little uncomfortable. So, you do what comes natural to someone following the crowd and not really on this journey b/c of your faith in God or b/c you personally believe Moses… You COMPLAIN… You QUESTION…You DOUBT…
…is this really what our God had planned for us? Really?! Shoot, at least as a slave, we could expect some consistency! (After all, who really wants adventure anyway?!)
This whole time they just keep feeding you this line about the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey, yadah, yadah, yadah… but you’re thinking it sounds a little too good to be true! “What’s the catch?” (you want to know)
Well, upon arriving, it isn’t too hard to see the fine print…there are people ALREADY living there! There are people occupying the land “promised” to you. Not to mention, they were BIG PEOPLE too…descendent of giants!
Whoa Now! — this is NOT what I signed up for! I knew this was too good to be true… I mean, why would God put us in a situation that will lead to certain death? This just doesn’t make any sense at all, you reason. Maybe they took a wrong turn… (Columbus did too, right?) This can’t be!
In life, sometimes it seems easier to Doubt the validity of a claim, and ask, “Why do I need to fight for something God has supposedly already given to me?” What’s the point of a gift you have to work for, anyway?
Long story short, God punished the Israelites with wandering for 40 years…which I’m sure some of them were fine with b/c at least “wandering” was somewhat safe and reliable with all that manna raining down.
Fast forward now to the next generation, where the verse is taking place…
They are back to this place where they were promised an inheritance, and they’re hungry…hungry for roots, for a place to call home…hungry for what God has promised them. They’re DONE wandering.
Now all that’s left is to go in & TAKE what God has already given them.
It’s gonna take some sacrifice, yes. It’s gonna be a BIG risk- EVERYTHING, in fact. It’s not going to be comfortable or pretty or fit into a cute little box. It’s going to be hard- it might even be a little bit scary. It’s going to take Faith…everything. ALL of you. ALL they had.
What I’ve learned: Sometimes the gifts God gives us aren’t wrapped in fancy wrapping paper or delicately placed in lovely tissue paper.
Sometimes…DON’T MISS THIS… they’re disguised. They might be covered in Yuck- waiting to be cleaned. It might be hidden like a needle in a hay stack…It might be old…It might be just past a couple of fire breathing dragons or sleeping giants…who knows!
BUT, I think, these gifts are the MOST desirable. Otherwise, why would God go to such great lengths to hide or conceal them from everyone else?
Had the Promised Land not held giants – perhaps, someone else would have come in and conquered it, and perhaps God’s presence would not have been “necessary” for it to be done.
But, God HID it –he disclosed this gift…only to You– only to the Israelites did He reveal the Promised Land as up for grabs, and ONLY with His help and their faith, would they be able to take hold of this gift.
So, ironically– challenges should not be the only thing to deter us from something God has promised us.
Trust what He tells you. Believe Him– it’s His will that YOU take hold of all the treasure He has set before you!
But remember, it will only be yours if you are willing to follow and obey Him; regardless of the cost, or the way it looks to others, or the fact that you will literally have to RISK everything to do it.
So, I leave you with this simple question…
What gift has God been waiting for you to take hold of?
Deuteronomio 1:8 (Traducción En Lenguaje Actual) :
Vayan y conquisten ese territorio, pues yo les prometí a Abraham, a Isaac y a Jacob que se lo daría. También les prometí que se lo daría a ustedes, pues son sus descendientes.