As we pursue the art of learning to worship the way God would like us to worship Him, this one is often the biggest stretch for a Western Christian because of the consumer mindset that is rampant in the church. That said, let’s dig in and see what we can do to create a new paradigm.
But first, some review.
- We name God in order to memorialize the unique facet of His nature that was expressed in this victory.
- We deconstruct the process to engage emotionally in as many different aspects of the victory as possible.
- We define the enemy’s objective so that we can celebrate his defeat more precisely.
The last step is seeing God’s objective in allowing the whole ruckus to even happen. We tend to default to comfort and peace (core values of consumers). God recognizes that those conditions have their place from time to time, but He is more emotionally engaged in conquering so He can build in the long run.
THAT is where we need to emotionally engage at the end of each battle. As God is looking ahead at life’s journey, what are the implications tomorrow, for today’s victory?
“In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia. The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will melt away; terror and dread will fall upon them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone— until your people pass by, O LORD, until the people you bought pass by.
“You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance— the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established. The LORD will reign for ever and ever.” Exodus 15:13-18 NIV
Here are God’s three objectives.
The first is a theme we have seen over and over again, which is branding. Long before the Hebrews arrived for their new assignment, He wanted their enemies to be drowning in adrenaline. Moses was digging deeply in his emotional vocabulary as He tried to capture the immensity of the impact the present would have on the future: tremble, anguish, terrified, melt away, terror, dread.
God isn’t shy about His brand.
The second objective was the one the Hebrews most treasured which was to be planted in their own land.
But the third objective is the big one. God wanted to secure a specific mountain for His temple. Think about how often God announced His objective. From the beginning, He said it was about worship. But the slaves with a consumer mindset took the central objective and made it a peripheral bit of trivia.
Where is the straw?
Where is the water?
Where is the food?
Where is the meat?
Where are the leeks and garlic?
Why don’t we get to share the leadership with Moses?
Why can’t we have peace without war?
Nowhere do we find a single complaint about worship not being big enough or vibrant enough to meet their expectations.
What is really tragic to me is the fact that the division of the land took place around 1451 B.C. (according to the people who think they have 20/20 hindsight) and David’s purchase of the threshing floor of Ornan was around 1017 B.C. For close to 400 years, the Hebrews had achieved their objective, while blithely ignoring God’s objective – even though it was stated repeatedly along the way.
THIS is why we need to stand back from every victory and seek to determine what God’s objective was. When we fixate on our pleasure in the victory, we are usually going to miss His objectives.
For example, God has replaced our cranky landlord with a predator the likes of which I have never had to deal with in all my years. Makes my previous cranky landlord seem like an angel. My objective would be peace and justice so I could do important Kingdom work.
Seems reasonable, right?
I explored the path toward peace and Father said that was not His objective at all. He wanted me to learn to beat a predator. It is my job to be so perfect he can’t ding me, and learn how to push back hard and effectively when he goes over the line.
I have no interest in this class God enrolled me in. It violates every shred of consumer comfort values I have. But I am reasonably sure that this is merely preparation for the future. While it seems to be an overwhelming mountain to climb now, it is probably just a beginner’s warm up exercise for someone else I will have to deal with in the future.
The God Who Plans Ahead grows us in a lot of ways. Our job is to let Him and that begins with studying victories closely to see what His objective really is.
Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub