Deuteronomy 1:8 (HCSB)
8 See, I have set the land before you. Enter and take possession of the land the Lord swore to give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their future descendants.’
Moses begins his speech here. The starting point is Mount Sinai, where God had delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites. Although the pericope here is only three verses, there are a few interesting things to note:
- “You have stayed at this mountain long enough.” (Deut 1:6) Israel was never meant to stay at Mount Sinai, it was always God’s plan to move them, to deliver them to Canaan. We can get into a “comfortable” spot sometimes and want to put down roots. But we must be attentive to God’s leading, it is unlikely that we have “made it” in all areas of our life, and instead should always be looking for the next destination God has for us. There are often breaks, periods of rest, a chance to recuperate, or grow, or just catch our breath, before the next leg, but the next leg is always coming, and we should be prepared to obey and follow.
- “I have set the land before you” (Deut 1:8) I like this picture. It conveys God as all powerful, in complete control, even of the land, of His creation. It places God clearly in the driver’s seat. And the authority in the statement is awesome. Canaan was not some empty land, just waiting for the Israelites to come in and populate it. No, Canaan was filled with people. So when God says He has planned out the Israelites being in this land, that means that man’s plans are inconsequential. No matter how many people were living in Canaan, God’s desire and plan were greater.
- That slides into the next part of Deut 1:8: “Enter and take possession of the land the Lord swore to give…” “The Lord swore to give,” makes all the difference in the world in that verse. God keeps His promises… that’s something we ought to take away from that first off. Even if we are a fool for 40 years, if God made an unconditional promise, it’s going to happen. But just because this is a promise from God, it doesn’t mean there is not a part to play for us. The Israelites were going to have to go into the land and do everything God commands, in order to possess it. If we sit on our rump all day, ignoring God’s call to move on His behalf, we shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t inherit Canaan.
Lord, thank You for Your promises, and always keeping them. I’m sorry for not doing the same, for breaking my promises, even those I’ve made to You. Help me to: turn from my pride and recognize Your authority, turn from my laziness and get up and do what You command, and forego my worldly comfort and follow where You lead next. Amen.