Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Splinters and Thorns

Numbers 33:55 (New Living Translation)
55 But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live.

The people of Israel were camped on the opposite side of the river Jordan, looking across to Canaan, the Promised Land, when God gave Moses these instructions for them.

Theirs was to be no army of occupation--they were to completely drive out the inhabitants of the land, destroying the images of the gods the people worshipped, leaving no trace of them.

It's easy to see how hard those instructions would have been to follow, but God warned them that anything less than that--any compromise or half-hearted commitment--would have painful consequences. The people who remained would be like splinters in their eyes and thorns in their sides--an endless stone in their sandal.

I'm a long way from Canaan, but there are a few "Promised Lands" in my life, and I can't help thinking of the parallels when it comes to less than full commitment to a goal.

Thinking of this account from the book of Numbers, I can see the futility of just looking longingly at the land across the river, or crossing over and being less than fully pledged to the goal of taking the land.

I've decided that whenever I'm tempted to dilute my efforts towards any of my "Promised Lands," I will think of splinters and thorns. Splinters and thorns are painful and irritating things. Ignoring them just doesn't work and if you want to get rid of the irritation you have to pull them out. Not taking them out can result in nasty infections.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm about to enter the land!


Lily said...

Why would I want to stop short of the Promised Land and knowingly be picking up thorns and splinters -- when Jesus willingly bore a whole crown of them -- so that I wouldn't have to.

Belinda said...

Yes, Lily, and there was such resolve in all that he did--"He set his face towards Jerusalem."

Thanks for drawing my attention to the One who wore the thorns for us.

Dave Hingsburger said...

I spend too much time gazing at my 'promised lands' and not enough time making the journey. For me I see obstacles as barriers - excuses - and then convince myself that the 'view' is better 'from here'.

Poppy said...

Dear Bel- I just recently realized I have been trying to remove the thorns myself ( after hoping they would just go away-they won't.) I had been trying to perform "self-surgery". Imagine! Scalpel. Anyhoo- Praise the Lord, he has delivered me once again and told me I can try, but He is the one with the correct diagnosis and the only hands that can heal. See you there!Poppy