Thursday, April 6, 2023

God of the Present Generation

Yesterday, we saw how God acts not just for those who are outside of the faith, but for those who are inside of it; the plagues were just as much for the Israelites in Goshen as they were for the Egyptians. Today's lesson is similar, but equally important, and it is this: 

God doesn't act so that your children will see it; He acts so that you will see. 

On the edge of the Promised Land, as Moses was giving his final words to the Israelites, he reminds them of everything that they have seen as God led them through the wilderness. And he says plainly, "God didn't do all of this for your children to see; He did it for you." 

This is important because if you remember, by the time Israel got to the edge of the Promised Land, they were a generation of children. They were the next generation after those who left Egypt. Earlier on, Israel had sent spies into the Promised Land, and they weren't convinced their God was big enough to give it to them, so they came back shaking in fear and terrified everyone else. God then sent them back into the wilderness to wander until that entire generation had died, promising that He would show their children all of the things they were now going to miss. 

These were the children Moses was talking to. They were the ones for whom God was acting, in direct consequence to their parents' generation who had acted out of faithlessness. That means that the paradigm for this generation, the understanding that they had of God, is that He works through the children to teach the parents something. That's why Moses has to say what he says - no, it's not through the children, it's not for the children, it's not on account of the children; God is with you. Now

Imagine the dramatic shift this had to have been for this generation of Israel. They had spent their entire lives carrying the weight of knowing they were the ones holding the promise for their parents, the promise that their parents were never going to see. They had this solid understanding of the role of children in fulfilling the word of God. And by the time they get to the edge of the Promised Land, many of them have their own children. It's so easy for them to just pass their promise off, believing that God will use their children much in the same way that He has used them. 

But the times, they are a'changing. The times are different now. This is not their parents' Israel; it is their Israel. God is with them, just as He has always been, and Moses has to tell them that the promise they've been carrying is no longer because they are children of their parents, but because they are children of God. 

Do you often fall into the trap of believing that you are carrying God's promise for someone else? That everything you're going through is for someone else's glory, not your own? That you aren't the one who is going to enter the Promised Land, even though you stand on the edge of it? 

Maybe you need to hear these words today: God hasn't brought you this far just to give your promise away. He's brought you this far to bring you into it. It's not for the children. God is with you


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