Then the LORD said to me, “Arise, begin your journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.’ (Deuteronomy 10:11)
Sin is sticky. It can be hard for me to dust off. When I find myself confronted with my sin, I have various initial improper reactions. Sometimes I begin with denial. Like Aaron who fashioned the golden calf, then denied it to his brother Moses saying — And I said to them, “Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.” (Exodus 32:24) Sometimes my best denial just sounds ridiculous, too. Repentance can’t begin until I honestly recognize my responsibility for my sin. Sounds simple, and it should be, but I can be pretty good at self deception when I really don’t want to face the ugly facts.
When I hear how stupid my sin denial sounds, you might think I would immediately surrender and repent, and I often do. But sometimes, I just switch tactics and blame somebody else for my own choices. Eve blamed the snake, Adam blamed Eve, but both of them eventually saw the shame of their nakedness before God. I don’t always blame people, and too often I give Satan credit and reduce my resistance to zero by blaming my humanity. Career sin masters often simply decide to excuse it all in the name of human frailty and expand Grace beyond all reason and…. I’ve found myself operating in their model more than once.
Even when I really struggle with taking responsibility for my sin, I eventually do, and I repent, and only then I find myself at today’s verse – Arise, and begin your journey. This should be a no brainer, but I have spent some unnecessary time camped at the base of the mountain of God, mired in my sticky, sticky sin. God’s plan is so much simpler – Let’s deal with it then move on. Both the Devil and people (yeah, even people in the church) try to keep my sin stuck to me. Grace dissolves sins adhesive.
True repentance erases sin in God’s eyes. Once it is out of His way, He immediately directs me to the next thing – go in. Spiritual border crossings are plagued with naysayers. If the rebellion of disobedience got me caught in sin, it surely can’t make any sense to try to disobey my way past it to God’s next thing for me. One of the surest ways to diminish the horror of my sin memory is to obey God and go in to the next ministry opportunity He points me toward.
God is good. His goodness is beyond my ability understand it. It is irrational in its provision. Once I am restored from my sin by His Grace because of His subsitutional sacrifice and I hear Him say go in, He always restores me to enter His Kingdom and possess the ministry He has assigned me. It isn’t a possession like material ownership, but a restoration to stand in His authority where He has placed me. God’s Grace to me has been most vividly revealed when I have failed Him in ministry, and He has blessed me and restored me to ministry. The Hebrew pictograph for “blessing” depicts a man with his head on fire. I get that. When God’s mercy and grace is poured out on me in spite of my failures, my mind flames right up, then smolders for days in holy amazement.
Are you stuck in some sin at the base of God’s mountain? Retract your blame and denial. Repent and cry out to God for forgiveness. Then Arise, begin your journey….go in and possess…
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)