Monday, January 9, 2017

Practicing the Presence of the Lord into the Promised Land

Some people read the Old Testament and think it must be some sort of geopolitical manifesto of the modern day Middle East! It is of course no such thing – the Old Testament, every page of it, exists for one reason; to reveal Jesus and His work on the Cross for you and me and all human kind. It's that simple!

So when you read a story from Joshua 4 - 6, God has lessons for you above all else:

This moment in ancient Israel’s history was the moment they crossed from one side to another, from an existence of welfare and mediocrity, to a life of fruitfulness and faith – that of the promised land.
So here’s the thing. The Jordan River isn’t that big… a bridge or two or even perhaps building one would have sufficed. Instead, they followed the Ark of the Covenant – the Throne of God, straight across it. Wherever that Ark went the people went. The River stood still and miles upstream it piled up while the place around the Ark was dry.

And when the people had crossed the land it was far from empty. Nations stood in their way, yet this was their inheritance. To show the Israelites how it had to be done, the first city was to be conquered not with the strength of the bow and sword but simply several marches of the Ark around the town. 

This, as was said before, was all pointing to something… that today’s child of God has a hard won inheritance, a covenant that Christ Himself purchased for us with His blood. It is an inheritance of peace, love, joy, hope, and above all else, the Spirit in us. But this inheritance can’t be enjoyed in the land of doubt and ease, welfare and mediocrity. One must cross to the other side.

So what is the one thing needed to cross over this river? It is the Ark, or rather the presence of the Lord… and He is very often unpredictable! Back then, the Ark represented the presence of God. It was in a single physical location. This is not the case at all in our time. God’s presence is in us, His Spirit makes us His Holy Temple.

Today, we don’t have an Ark to follow around, we have the Spirit of Christ residing in us but so often unaware of this truth and the moments in which we remember, we compartmentalize and relegate this fact to that part of our lives that is reserved for ‘spirituality’. We don’t “practice the presence of the Lord” as someone has once said. But if we want to enter this figurative promised land, we must learn to do so and discern the movement of the Ark. We must learn to live, not necessarily muttering prayers beneath our breath at all times, this is madness, but rather cultivate ever-increasingly a subconscious awareness of His presence, His leading, His prompting in our lives.

This is difficult to describe, but every child of God knows this to at least some extent. Many give up on following the Ark, practicing His presence… it is quite frankly difficult at times and uncertainty and doubt are obvious enemies. Besides all that, life on the other side of the River is not easy. There were giants and nations in the promised land for the ancient Israelites and likewise a fight awaits for all who wish to enter. It will take guts and grit to take possession of the purposes that God has laid hold of us for.

But it all starts in simply becoming aware of the presence of the Lord. He has always been with us, waiting, watching over His beloved children. His hand is extended to all who wish to truly live… all that remains is for us to receive it, with a willing heart.

You may have been “far from the Lord”, but you need not be anymore. You may have no idea what it means to practice His presence, but all it takes from you is to start asking Him to teach you. Don’t let this day end without deciding to cross the river. It’s time we discovered our inheritance, don’t you think so?

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David Roiel
The Green Leaf Blog-Discover your inheritance!

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