I Have Promised To Bring You Into A Land Flowing With Milk And Honey (Exodus 3:17)
Recently I was in Israel on a second trip and was lucky to attend a lecture on innovations by a rabbi. The rabbi said something that convinced me he knows little of the Bible. He said, “If God loves us, why did He allow 6 million of us to be killed?” He also went further to add that no one can decide for God. He gave another example. He told us that 3 Israeli children were kidnapped and their mothers made prayer requests all over the world, yet they were killed. That made him to still conclude the way he did in the first case.
In 2013, I was also in Israel and another teacher, this time not a rabbi, said, “God said he was giving us a land flowing with milk and honey, yet we do not even have common oil.” He, however, thanked God because they had found some gas at a commercial volume.
In my last journey we were taken to River Jordan. My wife asked a question; “Is this the River that the children of Israel could not cross.” I simply looked at her and kept quiet. These three experiences are the bases for this tract. My prayer is that it will help our lives.
A Land Flowing with Milk and Honey
Before I deal with the real issues, let me tell you that the land of Israel is still flowing with milk and honey. Yet, these milk and honey can only be seen with eyes and hearts that are not sinful. When God sends a man to a land with milk and honey, what you will see is a land that is filled with desert and crusty earth. The milk and honey can be seen only when ones obedience is complete. Remember, when the Israelites were in the desert on their way to the land of Canaan, the major problem they had in the desert was sin. Sin can turn an excellent man into an idiot. A good example of a land filled with milk and honey is Nigeria. Yet, Nigeria is among the poorest nations on earth. When you read science story today people talked about engines as if it something great. In the days of Uzziah they had engines to shoot missiles (2 Chronicles 26:15). When a nation is sinful, its scientists cannot produce chewing sticks talk less of engines! Nigeria is such a blest country that it is difficult to even give the dimensions of its riches. Yet our scientists know little or nothing to develop our natural resources into useful products.
In Israel, although they had suffered so much as a sinful nation, when the repented God would bring in some blessings. Even the Negev Desert in the land has been converted into a green lusty land. Today Israel stands as the land of innovation, not because they have perfected but they seem to be far ahead of many nations in terms of their worship of God. Their women dress decently unlike they naked way Christians dress. In fact, their fear of God is to a fault that on the Sabbath Day, they do not switch on their electric light as this is considered work. Automatic switches had to be invented for this.
Sin Magnifies Little Things
When my wife was shocked to see that the Jordan River is not very wide, it would look like an ocean in the eyes of sinners. On the other hand a giant would look like a dwarf in the eyes of a faithful man. Let’s take a look at the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:4).
“A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.”
Look at how Goliath is described. First, as a champion. Champion of who? Champion of unbelievers. He was a champion among unbelievers. Everything about him was exaggerated. What he wore and how he looked were described in such a manner that an unbeliever will urinate before any fight. The Bible said he wore a scale of amour of “bronze weighing five thousand shekels.” Anyone seeing that will be wondering how he was able to carry it. But let’s see how David saw him (1 Samuel 17:26).
“David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
First David did not guess about killing him. He was sure he could him. He saw him as uncircumcised showing that he did not see Goliath the way they described him as a champion. For a believer, giants become midgets. Let’s see how the children of Israel saw the Jordan.
When they started from Egypt they got to Kadesh Barnea on the 11th day (Deuteronomy 1:2). The journey itself should not be more than three days as the Promised Land and Egypt were neighbouring countries (Exodus 3:22). God, however, told Moses that the three days journey should be 40 days if not if there was war on the way they would quickly turn back (Exodus 13:17). This journey of 40 days, however, became a journey of 40 years. That is what sin does in the life of a nation. That is why development in our nation is taking eternity. And so when the Israelites got to the border of the Jordan they kept encompassing the area without any progress. When Moses died, God came and told Joshua (Joshua 1:1),
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.”
Now at this time, their obstacle has been taken away. Moses had sinned by striking the rock and God has said he was not going to see the Promised Land. Once there is sin, there can be no progress. In the eyes of the Israelites, small River Jordan became a mighty ocean. But when Moses died, River Jordan overflowed its banks (Joshua 3:15). Yet in the eyes of faithful Joshua he saw nothing of that. His visions were on the Land of Canaan beyond the Jordan. A child of God will see difficult things as simple where a sinner sees them as extremely difficult.
Sin Sifts a Man of His Worth
Jesus had to pray for Peter so that he could be a worthy man (Luke 22:31, 32).
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
What this means is that sin removes from the life of a man what is useful in his life. That is how it also affects nations. A man that is supposed to be leading in his generation becomes a back bencher because of sin and even becomes unknown. That is why many nations are suffering today. If you ask them, they will simply tell you that they are praying for God’s intervention. God will not intervene when the life of the citizens are not correct; particularly those of the leaders.
When a governor is coming to a school, all the children will dress very well waiting for the governor. Assuming that there is a girl in that school that the governor is “chasing,” once the governor sees the girl he will lose his confidence. That is what sin does in the life of man. It removes confidence and integrity. In fact, if that governor were to spend two hours in the school, he may cut it to one hour. Why many of us still joke with sin is because its effects may not be immediate.
Apart from the effect of sin not being immediate, many believe that sin can be kept secret. Do you know if you keep sinning and no one finds out, it means you are not useful in the hands of God? Once you are useful and God wants to use you, he will allow your sins to be known so that you can face the consequences and be forgiven. Do you know why Jesus quickly prayed for Peter in the quotation above? He was useful in His hands. Peter led the apostles after Jesus ascended into heaven. Assuming he was not prayed for? Sin would have become a small thing before him. He would even still have been called pope or bishop; while still committing sin left, right and centre. This is because if one sins, his head does not enlarge, neither his ears. That is why many people keep hiding and committing sin thinking that no one will know. Sin is simply suicide.
Apart from sin perforating a man’s life like basket it blinds. Look at what Jesus said (Luke 4:18):
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”
Apart from imprisoning, oppressing and impoverishing people, what sin does is to blind an individual. But before we take a look at our sub-heading of blindness, let’s take a look at the issue of imprisonment and others. When a man sins he loses his freedom. This loss of freedom is on every side. He becomes afraid even when no man pursues him. He becomes a prisoner of Satan. Similarly he is oppressed by all forces of darkness. There are people who cannot sleep just because there is sin lucking somewhere. In fact, all the elements turn against him. The worst aspect of sin is that it does not just stop in the life of the committer but even generations after him are affected. What about poverty? What brings poverty is sin. When you look at the faces of African children with mucus dripping from their noses and tears from their eyes and flies boozing around their mouths, you should know the extent to which sin deals with man. Even as a farmer, you can plant your crop on a piece of land and harvest nothing while another man plants and then harvest bountifully from the same piece of land. The only way to escape all these is to grip onto God.
And finally, I want to say that sin blinds. The blindness sin causes is worse than physical blindness. That is why countries that are sitting on a lot natural resources that should make them govern the earth are simply living from hand to mouth. A good example is Nigeria. What you possess does not matter unless God opens your eyes to them. The type of university you have does not matter unless God opens the minds of your citizens to His secrets. In fact, all the “milk and honey” you need are always there. God made the earth complete and filled with all the things we need. Even the deserts have the things that humans need. It is also possible that it is sin that turned some places into deserts. If people with complete obedience to God come there, the desert will become a fertile ground. God did not make any portion of the earth to be useless. Remember that God cursed the earth only after Adam sinned (Genesis 3: 18; Haggai 1:10). If these are the effects of sin, may heaven help us to overcome sin, in Jesus Name.