I was up this morning wanting to hear a bit from God, and not sure where to turn in my Bible. So I decided to open my “Bible Verses” app and see what verse they had picked today.
For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. – Deut. 30:16
That’s what I read, and the promise of it struck me. I felt the Spirit whisper, What is the land that you are entering to possess?
I knew the answer, but I spent a few moments to actually quantify it.
The land I am entering to possess is:
— My ministry
— This winter and the projects that lie before us
— The nursing homes I play and sing in
— The prospect of having three teenage kids in a few months
— The farther-off future when my children begin leaving home and going off to college
…but most of all, it is:
— My calling. The areas of ministry that God is going to lead me into, regardless of how big or small they may be.
He whispered then, And what am I promising will happen in that land?
I will live and increase, and the Lord my God will bless me!
To me, the word “live” in the Bible really means to thrive. Jesus came that we can live life more abundantly. So any time God gives a promise about living, it’s not a promise that we will merely exist. It’s a promise that we will live abundantly.
Finally, He whispered once more and had me move backward through the verse a little more, back to the beginning. What leads to these promises and blessings?
To love the Lord and keep His commandments. They go hand and hand, of course. Jesus said that, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
But God didn’t give commandments just to keep us under His thumb. His commandments were the guidelines that matched the laws of existence in this world He created and placed us in.
This is a funny example, but Chemistry is a good example. A chemist cannot succeed in his field, his job, and his experiments unless he knows and abides by the laws of Chemistry. If he doesn’t, he might very well blow up his lab, ruin his instruments… and ruin his chances of success in the process.
God’s laws are no different, and He gave them to us for the same reason… so we’d know how to avoid blowing up parts of our lives and ruining things.
And that brought me back to the simplicity of this verse… and the promise.
The beginning command is only a protective one… a reminder and a loving warning. But the end is a promise that those of us who do love our God and who do have a heart to follow His commands can rest in.
I don’t need to worry about where God might lead me in the future. All I need to do is continue loving and following Him. He’ll lead me to the land that He is going to have me possess, and He’s promising that I will live abundantly and increase there!
His ways are marvelous!