War and Peace in the Promised Land

Deuteronomy 11:29-32 And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal. Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh? For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein. And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.
There is a common belief among Christians that Jesus will come and take us all away before anything really bad happens. God saved Noah from the flood and Lot from the brimstone and Israel from the plagues. I’ve got some bad news for you.

No. He didn’t.

He saved them through tribulation, not from it. Noah was locked up in a boat for months with seven other people and thousands of animals during the most violent storm the world has ever known. Lot walked out of Sodom and took shelter in a small town right while the sky rained down fire and brimstone all around them. The Israelites suffered a number of the plagues right alongside the Egyptians and then had to march through forty years of wilderness to reach the Promised Land. And what did they find when they finally got there? They found both blessing and curse. “Are they not on the other side of the Jordan?”

The Promised Land wasn’t paradise, but it was where God wanted them to be. It was where they needed to be. Growth doesn’t come through leisure, but through joy and suffering, loving and fighting, blessing and cursing.

Yes, there is a place where there are no more tears. But it’s not just over the rainbow rapture. It’s not in the Millennial Kingdom. God wants you to grow a little more between now and the end.

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