Did you realise you can come home by going somewhere new?!
Well, you can if that new place is where God wants you to make your new home.
Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land and even though they had never been before, they were Home!
In God’s plan we are often moved to a new place, there to make a new home. The old doesn’t seem to fit anymore because we are being moved on.
Leaving the Nest
Preachers take the text about the eagle stirring up her nest to preach about how God gets us ready to move on to new things.
“As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.” Deuteronomy 32:11,12
One interpretation of this passage reflects on how an eagle prepares her chicks to fly and leave the nest for their own future. The mother eagle apparently removes many of the soft feathers and padding in the nest, making it less comfortable for the chicks. Then she pushes the chicks from the nest, letting them plunge from the lofty height. If they don’t fly successfully she lets them land on her wings and soars them back to the nest for another push. In time, even if not on the first day, the birds learn to take flight and thus move out of the nest to the new life that awaits them.
Applying that to our situations, it seems that when God wants us to move on in Him, to the next faith challenge or growth step that is before us, He begins by making our current situation less comfortable than it was before. He will even get to the point of giving us a push if we are reluctant to take the plunge.
[Note that some situations which become uncomfortable are not ones we should be abandoning – such as our marriage, our family commitments, fulfillment of our promises, and so on. So don’t go getting ideas that God wants you out of your marriage or your home, or your job or your commitments, just because the going is getting tough!]
When we are being led by God, the old place will cease to be ‘home’ anymore, and a new place, which has never been home to us before can become the place where we know we are meant to be.
Three Steps to Journeying On
There are three steps to journeying on. When the children of Israel moved into the promised land Joshua had three landmark steps which we can take as allegories for things we need to work through as we too move forward.
Circumcision. Joshua made sure all the people born in the wilderness were properly circumcised before they entered the Promised Land.
“And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.” Joshua 5:7
This represents the process of tidying up the loose ends we have left undone and getting ourselves right with God. Circumcision was commanded for the Israelites, but many had not followed that command. When you are about to enter into new things be sure you have caught up on the things which God is requiring of you.
Closure of the Old Supply. As soon as the Israelites arrived at a place of new provision the old miracle supply stopped. The manna which had miraculously been on the ground for forty years suddenly ceased. They now had to rely on a new cycle of seasons and crops, instead of the constant, season-proof supply.
“And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.” Joshua 5:12
The old miracle stopped, because they were to live in a new experience. Old ways won’t work any more.
Christ Revealed Afresh. Joshua had an amazing experience of meeting Christ, in the form of an angelic being. Joshua went to this person and asked whose side he was on. The person told him that He was captain of the Lord’s Host. Joshua worshipped him, which angels do not allow men to do. This was not an angel, but Christ revealing Himself as the source of victory for Joshua’s armies.
“And the captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, Loose your shoe from off your foot; for the place whereon you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:15
Joshua enjoyed decades of military victories, because he had a fresh revelation of Christ’s involvement in his endeavours.
Our old Vision of Christ must be expanded to see Him as sufficient for our new challenges. Then we must ask ourselves, are we journeying with the crowd or having our own encounter with Jesus? Are we only here because others are or are we hearing from God directly and personally?
Another Way Home
The other way to come home is to return to what we have run away from, like the Prodigal Son of Luke 15:11-32.
The prodigal left home in Self Interest and because he wanted to be away from the restriction of his father. We can run away from God’s purpose for us. Some people don’t like the cost of the situation they are in or have their heart set on something else. So they run away from all that God has provided for them, hoping to get something better in their own strength.
Israel was given a challenge to enter God’s Promised Land but through fear and unbelief they declined and were sent to wander in the wilderness. 40 years later God led them back to the very same place with a second chance to do what they had refused.
If we say ‘No’ to God He may lead us off into emptiness until we return one day to the same spot. We cannot go on to better things until we have put right what we failed to do in the past. This situation is referred to at times as “going round the mountain”, reflecting Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness, going round and round until they were ready to move forward.
You may have an outstanding account with God, some forgiving to do, something to put right.
Realisation, Repentance and Return
The prodigal son came to his senses. There was Realisation, followed by Repentance, followed by a Return. It is no use knowing what you did wrong if you wont repent, and it is no use repenting if you will not put things right.
Then when the prodigal retuned home his older brother was upset. The older brother was jealous of the liberties the other had enjoyed. He actually believed that there was a reward in sin. Yet he had been with the father all that time. He had the best deal and had learned to despise it! Don’t be fooled!
We are to be “In for the Prize” (Jesus) and not “In for the Ride” (self seeking). Then we will be Home in God’s best.