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When I was a kid there were songs that we sang now and then, that talked about heaven as the Promised Land.

I think many of the spirituals that were birthed in the woeful days of slavery in the US held this theme as well.

Stuff like – when I cross over the Jordan onto heaven’s blissful shores… and the like.

But I don’t think that is the type or shadow we are being given.

I was reading one of the blogs I follow and love (and highly recommend), Diane Reid’s “Devo Mom,” and came across a post yesterday called “Not This Mountain- Again?!” where she stated:

The purpose of leading the Israelites out of Egypt wasn’t just to get them out, it was to get them in. ~ Diane Reid [Tweet This]

Diane quoted

… for God said, "The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt." - Exodus 13:17 NASB

Paul tells us these are types and shadows, but what is the picture we are supposed to see?

The Hebrew children are captive in of Egypt – a clear picture of our slavery to sin.

Moses proclaims God’s word to Pharaoh – let my people go that they may worship (aka serve) me in the wilderness.

They cross the Red Sea and are led into the wilderness, where they are free, (hurrah) but have not obtained the promise they were given. [I am sure someone mentioned milk and honey, but all I see is dust and these biscuits]

Because of their unbelief they wander the wilderness until the entire adult population dies off, save the fearless Joshua and Caleb.

The leave Moses to die in the wilderness, and then Joshua leads them across the Jordan, into the Promised Land – and the fight is ON!

How can that be a picture of heaven? I am thinking heaven is a free gift – the land of promise is a land of fighting for the privilege of taking what was promised to you away from the person who currently has possession.

Not at all what I think of when I think of my dearly departed family members.

I just can’t see my dad getting to heaven back in 1988, having fought a battle with a brain tumor for years, showing up at the pearly gates and being handed a helmet and hand gun. There’s Peter saying,

Your mansion is the one 4 blocks down on the left with the picture window. You will know it because you’ll see the pipe organ through the big windows. As soon as you kick that family of Philistines out, it’s yours.

I suppose I could be reading it wrong.

OK – I’m playing with you here, but you get the idea. Tomorrow I would like to take a look at what the picture may be saying to us.

But for now, I will let you ponder it a bit.

If Egypt was the slavery to sin and we were set free to worship God in the wilderness, what does the Jordan and the Land of Promise represent?

Ben NelsonSee you tomorrow!

Until then, I remain

your brother Ben


John the Baptist is in prison.

Jesus just sent the boys on a missions trip.

Jesus is out and about preaching through the cities.

Prison is not so great; No library, no HBO, no nutritional guidelines or hours in the exercise yard.

John is temped to wonder about Jesus, so he sends some of the men who were still following his teachings to make sure that the assumption he made that day, only a couple months ago, in the Jordan River, was the right one.

Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else? - Matthew 11:3

Are you tempted to wonder this now and then?

John is hearing reports of Jesus’ message of freedom.

John is remembering the promise of a messiah on whom the government would rest.

John is in prison.

You read of Jesus’ message of freedom.

You remember the stories of Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead, healing the brokenhearted.

But you’re still sick.

Your loved one is dead.

You’re alone, brokenhearted, hopeless.

If you could  would ask Jesus today:

Are You the Expected One, or shall I look for someone else?

Jesus’ answer is a mystery. He does not send and angel, or earthquake and set him free. He does not send him words of hope and patience.

He tells John’s followers to go back and tell him of how Jesus is fulfilling all the prophecies and promises of the Messiah, just not in his life.

Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me. - Matthew 11:3-6

This is such an enigma.

John, you're in prison, and I am setting captives free, just not you. Don’t be offended.

What about you? Do you hear the stories of healing in the land, of renewal and revival and feel left out?

Will you take offense at Him, or will you wait on the Lord and be of good courage? [Tweet this]

Offence will build a wall between you and your hope.

Jesus taught us how to deal with just this type of situation.

Ask, and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking, and you will receive, find and the door will be open.

Don’t despair!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.


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