We are two weeks in the 17, and you may have already needed to refocus. Personally, I started off strong, but immediately slipped into some old habits. The Lord was gracious in responding, and sent a snow storm that enabled me to start over. A few days later, I found myself grounded yet again, this time with the flu. I’m not completely certain of the message he is sending to me, but I’m clear that he desires for me to proceed with caution, and not be entangled with what I’m terming as promised land blocks. We learn of a promised land block in the 20th chapter of Numbers. After 40 years in the desert with the people of Israel, Moses, who served as their leader was instructed by God to speak to the rock in order to obtain water for God’s people. Instead, in his anger he struck the rock – and although water did emerge, God was displeased with Moses’ demonstration and thus, forbad Moses to enter into the promised land. As a person who has served in a leadership capacity, I can appreciate what I’m sure were strong feelings experienced by Moses. Here he gave pretty much his life to a people who were disobedient, complaining, easy distracted and frustrating, and yet, they were allowed to enter into the land flowing of milk and honey, while he only got a glimpse. However, there is a higher expectation of Moses and one that the concept of landmarks rather than land blocks may have provided more effective guidance.
God is never slack on his promises! They will come to fruition, but they may take longer than what we hope and/or desire. A landmark to this, is the consideration that we serve the same God as Moses and countless others in the Word of God. If God does not have respect of persons (Romans 2:11) and he doesn’t, we can always look to our history as a landmark to our present and ultimately our future. Perhaps we need to go back and define landmark. A landmark is a building or other place that is of outstanding historical, aesthetic, or cultural importance, often declared as such and given a special status (landmark designation) ordaining its preservation, by some authorizing organization; or a significant or historic event, juncture, achievement, etc. As a person serving in a leadership capacity, I have landmarked in my history, God navigating me in the past through difficulty, particularly, when I’ve yielded my ways and limited knowledge unto a sovereign, all-knowing and infinitely wise God. Also landmarked in our history is God’s promise to never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Even when we feel abandoned, or just lonely, as people in leadership often do, we must recall and affirm that we are not walking by ourselves, that we in fact have the option of being led by God. Another landmark is to recall that we will make mistakes and it’s okay. If that was not in the plan from the onset, there would be no need for Jesus. Psalm 37:24 affirms, “Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” What great blessed assurance that mistakes made do not separate us from God! So now that we have a firmer foundation upon our landmarks, let’s examine our land blocks.
Land blocks are people, places or things that present as obstacles to get where God intends and purposes us to go. We most certainly can anticipate encountering them, but it’s our response to them that will either assist us in navigation or stahl us on the way to our destiny. If we are serving in a leadership capacity, our actions may also impact those who are serving in followership roles. Most recently, I was presented with a flight or fight moment. The most immediate response that came to mind resembled that of Moses. I didn’t want to speak, but instead to strike, especially because I wasn’t feeling my best. Be careful of taking action on circumstances that may have lasting impact when you are not well. God provided (as he always does) just enough space for me to enlist those around me who I trust, and who desire the things of God to be operational at all times. They inclined my ear and provided sound wisdom (Proverbs 2:6), sound wisdom that enables us to navigate land blocks. What I love about God is that he freely gives wisdom (James 1:5), but we are not always in a space to receive it. Thankfully, he operates in a holistic manner, and his wisdom goes forth around us, even when we are not receiving it within us! Secondly, an active land block may serve as a temporary obstacle but not a permanent disengagement. Simply put, just because something doesn’t work in our favor today doesn’t mean that it won’t forever. II Corinthians 4:18 reads, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Rests are good. For example, even though I don’t feel the best now, and even as I write, I’m feeling tired, I must understand that the rest the God extended, albeit in the form of a snow storm and sickness is preparation for what lies ahead. When God “sits us down” as opposed to questioning the legitimacy of it, let us instead accept it as love and for what we need in the time to come. Finally, let us remember to use our most important weaponry as we maneuver difficulty, and that is God. Our land blocks are not his first rodeo. Further, he knows best how to handle his creation. II Chronicles 20:17 reads, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” Giving “it” over to God is the most brilliant action step that we may ever take.
Just as sure as we have landmarks, we can be certain that land blocks will show up in our lives – yet nothing is a match for the God we serve! We have enough historical stock in our landmarks to trust that God will navigate us through our land blocks. Its ours for the possessing! We can’t give up! We can’t give in! Mark where you are and where you want to go, and I dare you to take God with you. See you there!