For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills
Deuteronomy 8:7 (NKJV)
This week’s GSDT assignment challenges us to identify “what we’re going to stop delaying and start doing.” While I didn’t remember the task, the answer came to me, complete, in one moment.
After the weekend that was (more on that later), somebody smart might’ve rested. I awakened later than usual but early for most and prepared for worship. I was called; there was a message I needed to hear (there was also a dinner party to prep for, but again, more about that later). The pastor preached “God is bringing you into a good land.” That was encouraging, but my rhema word was this…“before you enter into a good land, you must remember the lessons of the desert.” And that is when it all came together. I have been in the desert. And in order to never forget the lessons of the desert, I must write my lessons. I must write the ways God has sustained me when I never could have made it on my own because somebody else is wandering through the desert. It's time to stop delaying and write my way out of the desert. That's the book I am called to write.
Moses instructed the children of Israel as they were about to stop delaying (a 40 day journey across the desert took 40 years) by reminding them to look back. Matthew Henry’s commentary explains it in this manner…
To engage them to this obedience. Moses directs them to look back. It is good to remember all the ways, both of God's providence and grace, by which he has led us through this wilderness, that we may cheerfully serve him and trust in him. They must remember the straits they were sometimes brought into, for mortifying their pride, and manifesting their perverseness; to prove them, that they and others might know all that was in their heart, and that all might see that God chose them, not for anything in them which might recommend them to his favor.
|Before you enter into a good land, |
you must remember the lessons of the desert.Never forget all that
brought us to where we areSHARE THIS THOUGHT AS A TWEET
“Looking back in order to remember” is a concept familiar to me-not that I knew how or when I would need it most. I was raised on Sankofa, the Akan principle translated to mean “go back and get it.” Particularly resonate with African Americans, the lesson of sankofa is that we must never forget all that brought us to where we are now; that no matter how far we travel (literally, spiritually, or materially), it is not wrong to go back for that which might have been forgotten. “Before you enter into a good land, you must remember the lessons of the desert.”
Now I can write the book. It was never supposed to be a collection of blog posts; that wasn’t the soul deep lesson I grew through in order to learn and share. The lesson is (thank you, Rev. D for giving me the context for my wilderness wandering)...
1. Sometimes the pressures of life have a way of pressing things out of us.
Are you proud of what comes out? Pressure doesn’t change us.
It simply amplifies what is already there.
2. Wilderness experiences reveal our strength.
In what (in whom) do you believe? Upon what (or whom) do you rely? The Wilderness is a proving ground.
3. The Wilderness is NOT a destination. It is a school from which you must graduate.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned as a member of the GSDT is the significance of community. He did not build us to break beyond His restoring Grace AND He never meant for us to go it alone.
So, if I have come to an understanding of my time in the wilderness, if I can witness to being sustained by the Word and the Will of God when there wasn’t a single thing I could do on my own about my life and my circumstances, then I’ve got to graduate from my journey in the wilderness AND tell the story. It is not enough to just survive my wandering in the wilderness.
And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.
“Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Deuteronomy 8:2-10 (NKJV)
The only food for my soul was always The Word. The only sustenance I had (or needed) in the wilderness (or at any other time) was Jehovah Jireh. Wilderness is used to discipline the children of God. When we get ahead of ourselves and forget His Goodness, He allows us to be chastened. He allows us to be threatened that we should confess our dependence; our brokenness before Him. Only by God are we sheltered in the wilderness. Only by God are we ushered out of the desert. We are therefore remind from whence our provision comes. We are clear that He ushers us into the good land, and we are bound to be grateful for the lessons. Further, and this is the journey upon which I now embark, we must never forget all that brought us to where we are now.
And so it begins...