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Land of Milk and Honey


"Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you" Deuteronomy 6:3

 

As I write this today, Israel is fighting for her right to exist and live in God's promise made to her Jewish people thousands of years ago. I stand with Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem as He commands.


When I think about the people, miraculously brought back from the nations to which they had been scattered according to ancient prophecies, I am in awe. They are such a diverse group, many believing, but far too many, cold to the promises that God fulfilled when He returned them to the land.


Why do we hear a magnificent promise of God like the one above and yet turn away?


This seems to be the universal predisposition of mankind in response to the graciousness of God. If liberty from bondage, oppression and slavery were not enough, God also declared that upon being rescued and brought out of Egypt, He had a wonderful home in mind for them—a land flowing with milk and honey! Increasing greatly in this blessed land was His best for them. Yet most only partially believed!


God's intentions are unchanging. Disbelieving Him still brings about a dismal outcome—the swift death of His best for us.


The New Testament states emphatically that what was written in the Old Testament was to instruct us today—a sort of blue print for us to follow. The accounts were not to be considered region specific, although the words were, indeed, addressed to the Israelites of that time.


"These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come." 1Cr 10:11

God expects us to wisely examine the written record, consider the principles revealed, mull over the rewards for obedience, heed the punishments for disobedience, and then govern our lives in the light of what we learn. The words in the Bible were to carry over the winds of time to warn and instruct us about spiritual principles and lessons that are as relevant today as they were then.


Such consistency in the message is because of two unchanging factors—our nature and that of God. We respond to things the same way today, despite our real or imagined, cultural and technological advances, or the years that have passed since the promise was first spoken. God, of course, never changes.


This land of milk and honey was to be a place where He could demonstrate His favor, and the benefits of His presence to a nation—a specific group of people. It was not with the intention of excluding others. Instead, He wished to demonstrate in those chosen the rewards of following Him and the dangers of ignoring Him. His intentions of good were to be understood by all humanity, just as much as His requirements for fidelity and obedience. Those intentions were to extend ever outward to whoever would take Him at His word, regardless of nationality, race, or any of the innumerable differences we make much of today.


Can any of this be useful to me as an artist, you may ask? Every spiritual principle, if diligently practiced, is supremely important to you as an artist. I haven’t learned them all, or even a few. But I do know more today than I knew the year before... I am living a life of growth and increase. You can too! Unfortunately, the little I've learned has to be revisited often, simply because I wage a constant battle with my baser nature, finding disobedience far easier to yield to than obedience! Reviewing them often encourages and redirects me, as I hope they will you too.


Egypt represents the bondage we were delivered from, the land we left behind, when we asked Jesus to govern our lives upon accepting His free gift of salvation.

In Egypt we survived by strenuously striving, following alien rules made by others, who did not have our best interests at heart. Egypt had a system, a hierarchy and a currency. We, without citizenship, could never hope to thrive there—nor were we meant to.

As a slave, I could never become the master. As an outsider, I could never be established. My future and destiny were doomed to the lowest strata of society. I had no hope of a better future, only the bleak prospect of my limitations binding me forever to poverty. This translates rather readily today into limited artistic ability, insight, ideas, resources, a non-existent sphere of influence and poverty in just about everything that could affect me as an artist, since that is my role and calling in the world.


Ah, but in the land of milk and honey, in Christ, I am in partnership with God and an heir of a superior kingdom. My currency is faith. There are no limits, except those that I impose on myself because of puny faith. I am free! Free to dream and to create as I was meant to create. I am not bound by financial or any other limitations, because God is my provider. I answer only to Him and He desires that I "increase greatly!"


Can I really believe that? Of course, I can…..and I must. Only by believing do I inherit the promises. Thankfully, I have the "Greater One" living in me, willing to remind me of these truths, should I fall into the awful predicament of considering only my limitations!


What liberty, what joy! This is the land in which we ought to metaphorically be living— enjoying the reality of greater wealth that is supernaturally provided, received simply by childlike faith.


To those who may dismiss this as naïve, let me assure you that I am living it. In this land of childlike faith, milk is rich and plentiful and the honey is satisfyingly sweet! It is available to anyone who will take it by faith. Learning to heed His voice and diligently obey is the only requirement for dwelling here for all eternity!

 

"If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:"Isaiah 1:19

 

Does it mean that I will never face the apparent contradiction of the promise with some evidence to the contrary? No. Every promise God ever makes to you will be challenged by the enemy of our souls, satan, and the temptation to doubt will overwhelm. Circumstances wont always seem to align to the promise for a season.


But those seasons, which try the human spirit and stretch our faith, are seasons of growth—not in the abundance of the milk or honey, but of the faith that will manifest them—IF we do not quit trusting the One who promised. His faithfulness and integrity is unmatched!


So hang in there if you are in a rough season of your life. He will bring you out to these broad, fair lands of promise and blessing.

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