Episode 1. Promises, Promises, Promises
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So many things in life are full of promise and then after a while, well, they feel empty. God is full of promises too. He talks a lot about the Promised Land. The question is, how do you get a hold …
So many things in life are full of promise and then after a while, well, they feel empty. God is full of promises too. He talks a lot about the Promised Land. The question is, how do you get a hold of His promises? How can you actually live in His Promised Land?
There are many, many people in this world who feel that they’re wandering aimlessly through life. Sure there have been some good things and maybe there are some more to look forward to and yeah, we all have bad things that happen in our lives, we all do but this feeling that we’re wandering is somehow separate or independent of whatever is going on around us. Where am I going? Isn’t there some destination other than a coffin at the end of it all?
So many things in life, family and career and possessions, they hold out so much promise and for the most part they’re great but where’s it all headed? That’s why today we’re kicking off with a new series called, “It’s Time to Take the Promised Land”. Maybe it sounds a bit odd but indulge me, it could be one of the most important things we ever do together.
I am really excited starting this new series called, “It’s Time to Take the Promised Land”. Now what sort of series title is that you might ask, It’s Time to Take the Promised Land, well let me unpack what I’ve been thinking. We live in a world that promises so much, a world of brands and products and experiences and travel and luxury, you know all that stuff that they cram in on us, a world that promises so much.
The marketeers, they talk about the “brand promise”, for example my favourite on TV, you see the ads for margarine or breakfast cereal or low fat milk right. Ever noticed them? Here’s what they look like, here’s the setting.
It’s a trendy, today kind of kitchen; the sun is always streaming in through the window. You ever noticed it’s never raining outside, it’s never cold and wet and mum, mum’s pretty good looking, she’s slim, she’s happy and she’s well adjusted.
She’s smiling preparing the breakfast. And all of a sudden a well adjusted teenager bounds in and the teenagers smiling and spreads the margarine on their bread or pours the milk on their cereal whatever. And then, a cool, good looking 40 something dad in a suit and a white shirt strolls in and he grabs a piece of toast and the newspaper and kisses his wife and this is the sort of family at breakfast we’d all like to have but for so many people the reality is so different to the ad. I mean when you think about breakfast, I don’t know about you but for us it’s always busy, my daughters a teenager, she’s racing off to school and its nothing like the ad.
The reality is millions of people watching that ad don’t know where their next meals coming from. The reality is, families who are watching that ad are falling apart, the reality is even if they aren’t they’re bringing up teenagers and that’s a tough gig. The reality is that most peoples family’s and kitchens and lives and breakfasts look nothing like this ad and they’re selling margarine or cereal or milk and the brand promise is, if you buy this product this is what your life will look like.
Now you and I look at that in the cold hard day and think, “well that’s absolutely nuts”, right? I mean it’s crazy, margarine could never do that for you. But we swallow this kind of marketing every day. New car ads are the same, have you ever noticed that the cars always are the only cars out on this open road, “buy me and you’ll have the freedom to roam”. Never stuck in peak hour traffic ever.
You see so many things hold out a promise that they can’t deliver. On the one hand we want to live out those images of success that the marketeers kind of dangle under our noses, on the other hand somehow we never do, we never quite get there, it never quite works the way it looks on the ad or on the cooking show or on the, on the home makeover show and that’s the psychology of marketing.
You create an image that’s desirable, people look at it they want it and they see the gap between where they are and where that image is and that gets us to spend our money because we feel inadequate. And then we get there and we discover it doesn’t deliver and then they dangle the next thing under our nose and round and round and round we go on this treadmill of broken promises. I mean it makes our consumer economies go round and here you and I are on this treadmill with brands that never deliver on their brand promise and God comes along with a promise.
God makes a lot of promises:
I’ll be your God and you’ll be my people and I’ll walk among you and I’ll bless you and keep you and comfort you and guide you.
I’ve come that you might have life in all of its abundance.
It’s almost like God’s painting this picture of a promised land, a land that’s almost too good to be true. A land, a life, well to you and me some days it seems a bit like that kitchen and that family in the margarine ad. It’s hard to swallow God’s promises when we’re on that treadmill of broken promises going round and round and round. So I think in this day and age God’s promises are harder to accept than ever.
Now, now we’re getting close to the heart of this new series that I’ve called, “It’s Time to Take the Promised Land”. You see God is a god of promise and brand Jesus is the one brand that actually delivers. God’s plan is to lead you and me into His promised land, into a land flowing with milk and honey and we’re going to look at, over the next few days, about exactly what that lands about.
It’s a land of blessing but, here’s the but, He involves us in that process and we have a part to play and the first step that we’re talking about today, is accepting God’s promise. Letting Him write that promise on our hearts and believing it with all that we are, believing it with every fibre of our beings, with our very lives. What you discover when you get to looking at what God says is that you can’t have the promised land, you can’t go there, you can’t settle there unless first we believe it with our hearts.
Tomorrow we’re going to look at the time when God promised this land to Abraham. You know something, Abrahams just like you and me, he really struggled with a promise because it was impossible to promise. You see, you can’t have it until first you believe then He calls us to cross over into that land, to take the land.
Now that’s a shock and that’s a surprise and we’re going to be looking at that too, over the coming weeks. It’s really important to understand the journey and it can be tough and there can be battles along the way, it isn’t home delivered like a pizza as I said before.
We’ll be looking through the book of Joshua in the Old Testament, all about Israel crossing over into the promised land and how battle after battle they had to take the promised land but up front, something for us to think about today and the next couple of days on the program, up front we have a decision to make.
Do I really want God’s Promised Land? I mean really and if I do am I going to let Him write His promises on my heart and then carry those promises around with me through thick and thin on the bright sunny days and the cold and the wet and the windy days? Because they will come too. It’s about letting Him write His promises on our hearts, His plan for us to dwell in His promised land.
We’ve got a choice, we can go round and round and round on this treadmill of broken promises and live an empty and unfulfilled life or we can take a decision, a decision that sometime soon it’s time to take the promised land.