Living in the Promised Land

I think it is possible for a Christian, someone that has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, to live their entire life outside the will of God. God always gives us the choice to go his way or not. He does not force his will upon his children. If you think of the Promised Land as the will of God, then being inside the borders of the Promised Land means that you are in the will of God, you are living your life according to God’s plan for you, and being outside the borders of the Promised Land means that you are outside of God’s will, you are going your own way and doing as you please.

Two and a half of the tribes of Israel chose to live outside the boundaries of the Promised Land. The children of Rueben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh lived on the other side of the Jordan from the rest of Jacob’s descendants. The Jordan River formed a natural barrier between the two territories and made it difficult to discern whether the Ruebenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh were a part of the family that had inherited the Promised Land because they were not actually living in it.

Even though the Ruebenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh chose to live outside the Promised Land, they did not want to give up their right to their inheritance all together. In order to ensure they would continue to be identified with the Israelites, they built a replica of the altar that was used to make sacrifices to God. The altar was intended to be a will of sorts, a legal testament to their right of ownership to a portion of the Promised Land.

Every Christian has the guarantee that when they die they will go to heaven. For some Christians, that is enough, that is all they hope to gain from their relationship with the Lord. But I think they are missing the point of why Jesus died on the cross to purchase their salvation. I believe God wants his children to experience a different kind of life on earth that what they would have if they were not Christians. he wants them to be resurrected before they get to heaven.

A question that I think is worth asking is why did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? Everything that Jesus did was used to teach his followers a lesson. When Jesus arrived at the home of Martha after her brother had died, she said to him, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21). If it was me that had a chance to confront the Lord, I might have said, Lord, if you had been with me that night, I wouldn’t have been raped. What follows in their conversation is not only an important lesson about the resurrection of believers, but a lesson about the kind of life God wants his children to live while they are on Earth.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this? (John 11:25-26)

What I think Jesus is saying to Martha here is that if you are alive spiritually and are exercising your faith on a continual basis, you are never separated from God. You will not be thinking, if you had been here this wouldn’t have happened because you will know that the Lord is always with you. He is constantly by your side.

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