August 29, 2008

The Great Settlers

Joshua, after years of living with the frustrating regret that no one other than Caleb saw the land for the taking, arrives at the Promised Land again. He sends in spies - subversive, quiet, no one knows they're going spies - to once again survey the land and the people living there. The story of Rahab the prostitute follows, which is an amazing story in and of itself. But eventually the spies return to Joshua with their report.

"The Lord will certainly give us the whole land...." Period. End of story. "Hey Joshua, we saw the land, the people, the terrain, the vegetation, the weapons, the palace, the guards, the houses, the walls...and God's going to give us ALL of it!" So early the next morning they start to get ready. And the rest is history.

As I read this yesterday and again this morning I kept going back to "...the whole land...." These men had this supreme confidence that God was going to give it ALL to them. They had this assurance that not one thing they needed would be absent from their new home. And the thing that seriously frustrates me is that I don't see myself truly living with that attitude most of the time.

My mentality I often have is that God will most certainly give me ALMOST everything I need. WHY? Because I still keep processing, examining & evaluating my life based on what I WANT. And because of this I begin thinking (feeling) that God most certainly will NOT give me everything I need. Does this sound familiar? Haven't we had this conversation before? This NEED/WANT issue is one that seems to bring much turmoil to my life as a follower of Christ. Why can't I get a handle on this? I mean, look in the closet. Tear open the drawers. You can't miss all the incriminating evidence that I have a "WANT" problem. I don't think God will "supply all my needs according to His riches" because I don't have a clue what it means to live out of need. And quite frankly, His riches don't appeal to a heart lusting after one more thing this world can grant me for some momentary temporary satisfaction. Ouch. This is starting to sting. A lot.

I want to be the spy that starts to annoy the crap out of everyone, returning to camp with the report that "there are giants over there, there are armed guards, and there is the seriously scary unknown...but there is also every single thing that we NEED. It's all there. We can take'em. Let's go!" Yes, I want to be so determined and confident and assured and convinced that it's unsettling and reckless. Are you annoyed yet?

One of my favorite songs is called What You Want by Caedmons Call. In the song Derek Webb sings, "You're softer than a cannon blast. But Your affects much longer last. I want You just like a hole in my head. But I need You like a meal and a bed. You say, 'Come on...I'm not what you're after'. But I know You're not just anyone...anyone..." This is me. So often. I want God like a want a gaping hole in my head. And yet I know I need Him more than air and water and shelter and new running shoes and gratification and applause. 

"God will most certainly give us the whole land...." Will we take it? Or will sit there...across the banks of the Jordan...just staring at it...knowing that it's there, but settling for wilderness? Settling. Settling again. Settling some more. We're the Great Settlers, aren't we!

"Purify yourselves...for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you." Let's not miss out on the "great wonders". Let's cross the river and get a little crazy!

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