You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
What are you really after, beloved?
As Christians, most of us say that we seek God. But if we’re honest, I think many of us have been tricked into settling for something less. We encourage one another to fix our eyes on God’s promises. But what if by fixing our eyes on those promises we miss the blessing of God Himself?
Our enemy has convinced us to focus our desires on the blessings found in this world. Our hearts long for material things. For honor. Comfort. Wealth. Security.
And we’ve incorporated those things into our understanding of life in Christ. We know Christ has blessed us, so we interpret those blessings to come through material provision, expecting God’s generous overflow. Christ promises victory and authority, so we assume that means we’ll get everything our heart desires. Chasing that promise, we seek power we’re not yet ready to handle.
But many of us have missed what God taught Abraham when He called him away from the life he knew to a life of radical faith.
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Genesis 15:1 NKJV
God Himself is the reward, beloved.
Moses discovered that promise to be true. He grew up in the palace of a king in the wealthiest nation in the land. He had everything a worldly heart could desire. Money. Prestige. Comfort. He lived the life that many of us long for. Yet Hebrews 11:24-26 tells us this about him.
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
Think this through with me a moment, dear one. What reward was Moses looking toward? He had everything the world would tell him to desire. Yet he was willing to suffer dishonor for the sake of Christ, because what he would gain surpassed the wealth and treasures of Egypt.
What was Moses after?
I doubt he knew, until 40 years later when God showed up in a burning bush and called him to Himself. And after encountering His glory, Moses made the same choice Abraham made. He’d follow wherever God led, even if it took him back to Egypt.
God sent Moses to deliver Israel from their slavery. But He wasn’t just taking them from Egypt. He was taking them to their Promised Land. After 400 years, God was fulfilling His promise to Abraham.
“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” … “To your offspring I will give this land.” Genesis 12:2, 7
God had promised Israel the land of Canaan. And finally, after centuries of waiting, He sent Moses to deliver them and take them to their land of promise.
But it didn’t take long for the people to start grumbling. They complained about their lack of food in the desert, and God sent bread from heaven. He drew water from a rock when they complained of thirst. And after the people began to worship a golden calf, God offered Moses an opportunity to end the grumbling.
The Lord said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” Exodus 33:1-3
I wonder how Moses felt in that moment. God offered to send them from the desert into the land the people had longed for. And He vowed to send an angel to drive out their enemies. God promised power and provision, and Moses would regain the people’s favor by giving them what they wanted. They could finally exchange the lifeless desert for the land of promise.
You might be surprised at Moses’ response.
And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.” Exodus 33:15
You see, Moses realized the Promised Land wasn’t the true blessing. God Himself is. An angel wasn’t good enough. He wanted God. And he was willing to forsake God’s promised blessing to have His Presence.
What would you choose, beloved? Is Jesus your means to an end, or the end you’ll pursue by whatever means?
Don’t fall into the trap of wanting God’s promises more than you want Him. Jesus is your promised land, dear one. In Him you will find fullness of joy.
And He’s worth whatever it may cost you.