ON THE THRESHOLD
Dr. Tom Berry
There is an old custom that after a
wedding the groom carries his bride over the threshold into the
home where they will launch their marriage together. It is
recognized that there will be many heartaches, sorrows, and joys,
but both bride and groom usually look forward to whatever the
future holds with eager hearts.
The Scriptures tell us how the nation
of Israel stood at the threshold of the promised land. That
threshold was the rushing Jordan River. After crossing that
threshold there would be many battles. Some lives would be
lost and there would be moments of discouragement as well as
victory. Yet, they looked forward with great anticipation.
The great leader, Moses, stood up and pointed out to the people
that it was now a time to possess, to ponder, and to plan.
A TIME TO POSSESS
"Look, the Lord your God has set the land
before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers
has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged." (Deuteronomy
1:21). These electrifying words had come from God near the
end of 40 years wandering in the wilderness. What thrilling
words they must have been to a nation which had long endured the
disfavor of God.
It had been a time to possess forty years previous but
the nation had been guilty of unbelief. Because of that
unbelief they were sentenced to wander in the wilderness for forty
years until those 603,000 fighting men had died who doubted God's
power to give them the land. When God gave orders the second
time to enter Canaan the only two soldiers still alive who were
present on the first occasion were Caleb and Joshua. They
were also the only two who had believed God the first time.
For every act of unbelief in God there is a wilderness
wandering, be it an individual, a church, a state, or a nation.
There has been a lot of wandering around in our past years.
May 2004 be a time when God's people will have faith to believe
God. If so it will be a spiritual time to possess.
Surely there is a possession for every child of God:
and intimate relationship with their God.
life by the enabling of God.
ministry in the will of God.
witness by the enablement of God.
growth through the Word of God.
Let us possess what God has given to us.
A TIME TO PONDER
They needed to consider that God had blessed
them abundantly, even in their wilderness wandering. "For
the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand.
He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These
forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked
nothing." (Deuteronomy 2:7).
THERE HAD BEEN DIVINE BLESSING
"...The Lord your God has blessed
you..." Their possessions had been enlarged, their
cattle had been increased and there had been many battles won.
They could clearly see that they had enjoyed God's blessings even
while they were reaping the seeds of disobedience.
As God's people we should spot and
ponder. God has blessed us in 2003. Physical strength
and health, a means of income, home and family, material needs,
Christian friends, and countless other blessings testify to God's
constant benevolence. The very salvation we enjoy, and the
spiritual victories won, should be sufficient to show us that the
Lord has much He wants to do for us in 2004.
THERE HAD BEEN DIVINE KNOWLEDGE
"...He knows your trudging..." Many times they
thought God had forgotten them. Beside the Red Sea with
Pharaoh's troops in hot pursuit; times of hunger and thirst; the
long marches through the desert sands had all made them feel God
was not aware of their problems, but God knew!
Have we not wondered if God really knows about all
of the problems we have had? As we have passed through
financial reverses, loss of health, and numberless trials, has
there not been times when it seemed God did not know. Like
Israel we have been "...sojourners and pilgrims..." (1st
Peter 2:11) in the world. Yet, God has known about it all
and we are encouraged with these words, "Casting all your care
upon Him, for He cares for you." (1st Peter 5:7).
THERE HAD BEEN DIVINE PRESENCE
"...the Lord your God has been with you,"
The pillar of cloud by day and the fire by night was visible
evidence that the Lord had been with them. God was in that
cloud. The burning glory that shone through that cloud was
God's glory. "Now the Lord appeared at the tabernacle in
a pillar of cloud..." (Deuteronomy 31:15). From that
cloud God had given guidance, revelation and judgment.
We have no pillar of cloud today, but
we do have the promise of the Savior, "Go therefore ...and lo,
I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
(Matthew 28:19, 20). Those who take time to ponder previous
days will remember times when God was clearly with
them...protecting them in danger, providing for them in their
need, comforting them in their sorrows, blessing them above all
they could ask or think.
THERE HAD BEEN DIVINE PROVISION
"...You have lacked nothing." Many times
they had murmured but Moses reminded them in chapter eight that
their food supply of manna had never failed; they had drunk water
from out of a rock; their raiment had not waxed old and their feet
had not swelled. They had lacked nothing.
We often grumble because we did not get something we
wanted, but we must confess that we have not lacked the
necessities of life. Jesus had His disciples ponder this
fact in Luke 22:35, "And He said to them, 'When I sent you
without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?'
So they said, 'Nothing.'" May we confess that in spite
of all our worries we have lacked nothing.
A TIME TO PLAN
As they considered God's faithfulness in spite
of their unfaithfulness they could plan on greater things ahead.
They could make plans about possessing what God had promised to
give. As we launch into 2004 shall we not plan to do those
things which will allow us to possess much new ground.
WE SHOULD MAKE PLANS OF SEPARATION
The plague at Baal-Peor (Numbers 25)
resulted in the death of thousands. It served as a
constant reminder that God's blessing can be turned into a
curse when we try to live half for God and half for the world.
Lot, Samson, and David are lasting memorials to the shipwreck that
accompanies going the way of the flesh. May we plan to lay
aside the filthiness of the flesh and march forth in purity within
the ranks of God's army.
WE SHOULD MAKE PLANS OF SERVICE
Has the last year been unfruitful in the things of the Lord?
That can be changed. Christ only asks us to be faithful in a
few things. (Matthew 25:21). We should make plans now to
have a Christian home life; a faithful church attendance; a
personal devotional life; a daily witnessing life and a
consecrated life of service with the particular talents the Lord
has given us.
WE SHOULD MAKE PLANS OF STEWARDSHIP
Someone else financed the gospel being brought to us and the
Word of God being taught to us. Now it is our turn to make
it possible for others to enjoy the same privileges you have
WE SHOULD MAKE PLANS OF SALVATION
If you are not saved you should make immediate plans to
receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. "But as many as
received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name." (John 1:12).
There are some 200,000 people who die every day. Many
Scriptures indicate the majority are not prepared to meet God.
If you should be one of those in that number on one of the days in
2004 it is eternally vital that you will be prepared by having
placed saving faith in Jesus Christ. Don't let 2004 put you
in a sinner's grave and a Devil's hell like 2003 has done to
millions of others.
Copyright © 2002
Thomas E Berry
Scripture quotations from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.