I am in Florida. For me, there is nothing like the feel of the ocean breeze on my face. Watching the sea birds, especially Pelicans, fly or hover over the top of the water is amazing. Seeing fish jump from the water, little lizards scurrying about, and hearing the sound of unusual birds fills my heart with gladness.
I do have a problem however. We are staying in a beautiful home on Sarasota Bay. The ocean is seven miles away. I am so close. I can feel its effect. But I am not actually on or in the ocean.
We see the tide come and go. There are remnants of sea shells left behind. Sand is underfoot…everywhere! The breeze is refreshing. The smell of the sea is here too. But it’s not the same.
I am once again reminded of the Israelite nation. They too, were close to their final destination, yet so far away. They had messed up. Believed the wrong spies, and were penalized for their misguided belief. Wandering. Wandering around the desert for years until all the unbelievers died. Wandering the same terrain. Over and over again.
They longed to be in the Promised Land. They had heard of it throughout their lives and I’m sure this generation thought it was finally going to come true. But to their dismay, it would once again elude them. How disappointing it must have been. They were so close, and yet, nowhere near the milk and honey.
We can sometimes get in a rut. Doing the same thing over and over again without any real improvement. Perhaps it is the same prayer that is prayed. Or the same passage of Scripture read over and over. Or maybe it’s the same promise to God that you will stop allowing a sin to creep into your life. Oh how God wants us to get out of that rut. Do something different. Make a difference.
Maybe it’s that you keep going round and round the same ideas from the Bible, but never bring it to completion. Like salvation. You’ve read, heard, and studied the Bible. You believe what God’s Word says. You’ve repented of your sins and of your past and have confessed that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. Have you been baptized for forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit? If not, why not make that decision today? God calls us to Him. His desire is for all to come to salvation. Today.
After years and years, the Israelites were finally on the bank of the Jordan River, opposite Jericho and the Promised Land. They could finally see it. It was within their reach. But there was much to be done before they could finally take that first step into their new home. They needed to follow God’s guidelines and believe that it was through God they could have victory.
God spoke to Joshua just before Israel’s move. He said, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7) The Promised Land was the final destination for the Hebrew nation. It was the fulfillment of the promise made by God. It was their ultimate destination.
When we find ourselves in a situation where we have fallen into sin or have become stagnant spiritually, we should read these words and heed the message. Don’t get side tracked. Stay on task. Keep looking toward the goal. With God, you will reach it.
I have not seen my ultimate destination here in Florida, but it is only seven miles away. I will not fall short of the goal of reaching this destination. Yes, there are a few obstacles in my way, including a strip of water called the Sarasota Bay. But I guarantee that in the next few days, my feet will be walking on sand at the edge of Gulf Coast. Finally.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,