(1) And Moses and the Israelite elders commanded the people: “Keep the commandment that I am commanding you today. (2) Now when you cross of the Jordan to the land that YHWH your God is given you, you will set up great stones and you will paint them with lime. (3) And you will write all the words of this instruction on them when you cross over so that you may come to the land that YHWH your God is giving to you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as YHWH the God of your ancestors told you. — Deuteronomy 27:1-3
â€œAre we there yet?â€
Anyone who has traveled with young children is acquainted with this refrain. There is no time too early in the journey for it to start, and it doesn’t come to an end until the journey is truly over. It’s the age old desire to get there, to finish, to find a place of rest.
Think about what the phrase â€œwhen you get to the landâ€ must have meant to the Israelites. This was the ultimate â€œare we there yetâ€ situation. For 40 years they had been traveling, and not in an air conditioned plane or car. It was all hard, hot slogging through the desert. I wonder how many times the Israelites asked, â€œAre we there yet?â€
The idea that we’re going to reach a place of peace and rest is a source of hope for many of us. And it’s not a bad hope. It’s even a promise. Hebrews 3 and 4 tell about the rest that is promised to God’s people.
But there’s something important to remember. We can get rest from trials and temptations, we can find plateaus and times of peace in our lives, but there is never a time when we are no longer on God’s plan. We don’t get a rest from godliness, and most importantly we don’t get a rest from faith. I know that at times when I have had to rely on God, taking one step at a time with just the provision available for the one step, I’ve often hoped that I could get beyond that point to a place where God allowed me sufficient provision so that I wouldn’t have to worry.
But the interesting thing is that God tells me that I shouldn’t worry now! Further, God tells me that I am always dependent on him. So when will I actually get to the point at which I no longer have to worry? It will be at the same time as I realize that under God’s plan I don’t actually have to worry about anything! When will I get to the point at which I no longer have to depend on God? Well, never. No matter how well God prospers me he will still be expecting me to do things that are beyond what I am capable of on my own.
I imagine the Israelites had a moment of annoyance each time they heard another list of things they were supposed to do after they got to the promised land. But the things they were commanded to do were for their own goodâ€”not burdens to be born but aids to better living. That’s how God works.
Remember this: When you get to the land, God is still there, and your journey is not really over until that final one.