The Path to the Promise 

1.     Keep your Focus 

The path to the Promise sometimes leads through places that do not look like it.  To lose sight of the Promise and focus on the passage is to distress the soul and be likely to miss the Promise.  It happened to many on their way from Egypt.  Their vexing present seeming a far cry from the promised future, they were bitter and chose to die.  They did, and quickly so – before the Promise had been reached.  Along the passage, they strove with Moses and demanded, 

And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink (Numbers 20:5). 

God did not Promise the Passage; He might then have lined it with the figs and vines of the Promise, making it unnecessary to strive any further.  He knew the passage to the Promise, yet He gave the Promise.  Keep going.  The absence of pomegranates is not what makes a place an “evil place.” 

2.     Don’t Look Back 

Followers with their eyes on the problems along the passage are a pestilent distress to any leadership.  Often comparing their present to a ‘better’ past, and always talking problems rather than the Promise, they are readier for the reverse gear than ‘risk’ a further forward step.  They often find a bad name for their leader’s passage: “this evil place.”  Sadly, they never go down alone when they go down; a tiny vocal minority that causes colossal communal calamities. 

Those who often think back will sooner go back, finally putting their feet where their mind is.  Sadly, however, those who thus turn back never really make it back there, perishing in another wasteland between here and there.  Israel is a lesson.  So, this message is true not only for persons but also for nations on their passage through “this evil place,” as some call it, to that Promised place; through ‘seedless,’ ‘waterless’ bus stops before the place of milk and honey. 

Present storms may sometimes howl so loud as to tend to mute the Voice of the Promise.  Beware of such storms.  They could be intent on truncating the journey. 

3.     Keep Moving 

Paul admonishes heavenly pilgrims to look not at their ‘wilderness’ passage but unto Jesus who “endured,” and in some cases, “despised” His present, to make it to the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).  In other words, the passage could be tough, unless there’s nothing worthy at the end.  Like Moses, it takes an eye that sees the invisible to pass some points along the passage to the Promise (Hebrews 11:27). 

All journeys won’t be by flight; some must be by foot, through imperative wildernesses, even when God leads the way (Deuteronomy 8:2: Psalm 23:1,4; Luke 4:1).  No proper certificate is earned without a test.  How we react to the passage often tells where our focus is.  Any Present that looks like the Future unreached could be a distraction intended on frustrating the journey to the Promise.  That is one lesson Joseph has left us in the huddle over his seductive mistress on his determined path to the throne in Egypt.  Mrs Potiphar was a promise that looked like the Promise; but a promise that would have aborted the Promise (Genesis 39:7-12). Some bus stops might look like home, even better homes, but they are not; you will never know until you are there, and trapped.  Ask Lot (Genesis 13:10-11; 19:24-29).  Of Father Abraham the ancestral model sojourner, we are told: 

9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles … 

10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 

15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned (Hebrews 11:9-10, 15)

You are not the first on this trying path.  Please, keep moving! 

From The Preacher’s diary,
October 2, 2021.

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