“How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you?”  Joshua 18:3

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, Jesus expounded to them in all scriptures the things concerning Himself”  Luke 24:27

We are given something.  The thing may be expensive, it may be complex.  In fact the newer and more different it is, the more complex it may be to use, the more fearful we may be to actually go and do something with it.

The children of Israel had been promised a land flowing with milk and honey.  They had been promised that they would live in splendid cities that they did not build.  Plant crops and graze their herds in fields which they had not prepared.  God promised their fathers that He would go in before them, thus allowing them to go forth and conquer.  Their fathers were too afraid to accept the promise, so they died wandering in the wilderness along with Moses.  Their children had more courage.  They believed God and followed Joshua into the promised land.  They experienced the power of Almighty God as time after time, they came up against kings and armies, mightier than they were, yet utterly destroyed each enemy without losing anyone.  So now they had conquered the land.  So what happens now?  Thanking God, they should have gone in and possessed the land as their inheritance as the children of God.  However, for a while they stayed where they were.

Two followers (not two of Jesus’ disciples) are walking to a town called Emmaus.  This is just after Jesus has been crucified and scripture tells us, that in their discussion, they are confused and disheartened.  We hear that they believe that Jesus was a “great prophet” sent from God, but He was killed and some say has been raised from the dead.  Yet these two men are walking away from Jerusalem.  It seems they are walking away from what had been taught, going back to the way things had been, not certain if Jesus made any difference.  Had Jesus not come along and spoken with them, one wonders if their experience following Jesus, seeing His miracles would have made any difference.  Jesus did not allow that to happen.  He patiently explains all of what happened and more importantly why it happened.  They did not realize it was Jesus until He broke bread with them.  What was their response?  To joyously return to Jerusalem.  They could not wait to tell the disciples and the other followers about seeing the risen Lord.

Yeah, Yeah, Doug, you say to me.  Sure, the promised land thing I get; Okay Jesus explaining things right after His resurrection; cool, but what do I do with that?  Can there be a more important question for all us than that?  I don’t think so.  First let’s put some historical context on these happenings; Joshua and the Hebrews entered into the promised land in 1406 B.C.  Jesus was crucified and resurrected in the year 30 A.D.  So, roughly 1400 years difference in human existence.  But the same God, showing immeasurable Love and Power in leading His people.  Why do we think that God would have changed in the next 2000 years?  The answer is He has not.  He is as Loving and Powerful today, will continue to be tomorrow, as he was back then.  Second we have everything we need to see the vision clearly.  They say that hindsight is 20/20.  The bible provides us with several millenia of hindsight with which to grow our faith and trust in God.

Our Heavenly Father is telling each of us; “I love you.  I have a plan, a land for you.  I gave my only son Jesus Christ, to save you!”  We ask:  “Knowing that, what do I do now?”   We have several resources for that answer.  For one we have the bible.  And in conjunction with the scripture but even more powerful, in that He helps to interpret the scripture for us as well as intercede for us; we have the Holy Spirit to guide us.  It seems to this humble soul that what God is asking us to do is to Love.  That Love for Him (the first great commandment) will cause us to trust Him, to rely on Him, to humbly follow and obey Him, to accept joyfully and gratefully the blessings He has in store for us.  Additionally, we are to love each other as we love ourselves (the second great commandment).  When we want to curse another, hurt another, lie about another, judge another; we need to stop and ask ourselves:  “Would I do those same things to myself?”  And if I somehow came up with a twisted answer that says; yes, I like to do those things to myself.  We would go back to Love and ask is that out of hate or love for myself?  The two commandments go hand in hand.  I can not hate one and love the other.

The enemy would have us do nothing.  He would have us deny the gift of God, or say that it is too wonderful and frightening for me to do anything with it.  The gift will most assuredly change me, and I am too comfortable where I am; even if that is in a terrible place.  Take heart, Jesus Christ came down from perfection to a very scary, hate filled, dirty place.  He lived there and ultimately died there.  He did that all out of Love, not just Love for them but Love for each of us.  AND Jesus Christ did not stay dead.  He rose again, and returned to perfection with even more Glory.  But He didn’t leave us.  He said I have a gift.  I want you to come to where I am, forever.  So what do I do now?  How can I help but lovingly follow Him.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we resolutely declare that You are the one true God with all Power and Majesty.  Yet we also confess, Merciful Father, that we often do not fully accept or act on the blessings that You have poured out upon us.  We acknowledge that we fearfully shy away from boldly going forth in love proclaiming the victories that You have in store for us.  Help us Gracious Lord, to overcome our earthly fear and come into Your presence, faithfully obeying Your Plan.  That through that obedience, Dear Father, we may completely experience the blessings that You have in store for our lives and we might live to praise Your Holy Name we pray.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen