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A Little Taste of the Promise

“Afterwards, Abraham buried Sarah, his wife, in the cave of the field of Makpelah toward Mamre (which is Hebron), in the land of Canaan. The field and the cave which is in it were given up to Abraham as a possession for a grave from the Sons of Cheth.”

(Genesis 23:19-20)

 

And with dignity and with a foretaste of what is to come, Abraham buries Sarah, his wife. Later, Abraham will also be brought to this site for burial. Though Abraham never saw fulfillment of the promise of the land, he did close his life owning a piece of property within the inheritance that God promised him. And in that, he was satisfied.

So much about Abraham’s life is about waiting and anticipating, it is no wonder that he is referred to as the Father of the Faithful (Romans 4:11). And much like Abraham, we too are called by God to wait on Him and upon His timing. How often we grow impatient at waiting for God to fulfill his promises. How often, because of our impatience, we miss the partial fulfillments that God places in our lives. For Abraham, the partial fulfillment took the form of a burial plot for Sarah. For us, our promised inheritance is in heaven, kept free from decay and defilement (1 Peter 1:4-5), but does not God give us little tastes of heaven in the context of Worship? Is not the gathered body of Christ meant to be a foretaste of heaven to come?

How often the worship of God’s people is little more than going through the motions. Beloved, when worship is only about what you are doing, then you will only ever get out of it what you put in…there is a zero sum gain. But when worship is only about God and what he is doing, then you taste his glory, which is a gain of everything and more. If you focus your worship on man, you will only find the walls of man’s own limitations. If your focus is upon God, then walls are broken down and we will come face to face with the transcendent God. For Abraham, his longing was for God himself; for you, what will it be?

The Promised Land

 (Joshua 1)

 

The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt, having had to work to irrigate the gardens which they grew, they had traveled through the desert, with God as an oasis from the elements, and they were about to enter into the Promised Land.  This land was to be a place much like Eden, where the vegetation was lush and the thorns and thistles were few.  It was described as paradise, but Canaan was only meant as a partial fulfillment of God’s promise to his people.  Canaan had been polluted with the sin and wickedness of its inhabitants and the Israelites did anything but purge the land of sin.  Rather, they quickly joined in with the pagan revelries.

How little we do to preserve the purity of what God has given us.  We pollute our marriages with want and a wandering heart; we pollute our families with the things we teach our children to ignore.  We pollute our jobs with laziness and we pollute our relationship with our Creator with neglect and sin.  We may not have carved Baals and Asherahs, but we have set humanism and materialism in our hearts.  We need to turn our hearts back toward the Lord, seeking his glory and the joy of the promised land kept and preserved from ruin for those who would call on the name of Jesus for salvation.