Behind Closed Doors: Looking Where You Can’t Go

Today my daughter cracked opened the refrigerator and stuck her head in as far as she could while letting the door close on the side of her face.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Trying to see what the inside of the fridge looks like when it’s dark.” But because the light turns off when the door closes, doing so was impossible. Some realities just aren’t visible, and in this case, it was how the ketchup and mustard bottles appeared in the dark.

Do you ever wish you could look at something that you couldn’t see? Like what’s behind the closed doors in another person’s life, or wanting to preview the outcome of a decision before having to make it. Maybe it’s wanting to see the end result from a past choice made…or not made.  And wouldn’t it be reassuring to see into those places that are on the road ahead…like into the lives of our children? Who will they become? What will they be like as adults? Will they be healthy? What will their passions be? Careers? Will they marry and have children?  How do we settle those “what if” questions of what’s to come and what could have been?  I wonder what Moses would say.

Moses sadly, was not permitted to cross the Jordan to go into Canaan. As we read in the book of Exodus, we see  a nation coming out of one place and going into another.  We see a man, appointed by God, to lead an oppressed people out of bondage and into deliverance, freedom, and an everlasting covenant with God.

Before Moses’ death, God tells Moses to ascend Mount Nebo in Moab where he will be able to look across the Jordan River and see Canaan before he dies.  He will not be able to go into the land but he will be able to see the land from a distance. “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.” (Deut., 34:4) Although Moses could see the whole region from the top of Mount Nebo, he did not have the satisfaction of personally stepping onto its soil.  We deem this to be sad, frustrating and disappointing for Moses because we want his hard work to end with a reward. He faithfully led a disobedient nation for 40 years through the wilderness, teaching, instructing and praying for them while enduring their verbal abuse, disobedience and rebellion.  We want to see Moses cross that finish line. We want to see him arrive and physically bring Israel to the destination God had prepared for them, and see him experience the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing a job well done.

I think Moses’ Promised Land wasn’t that Promised Land.  Moses’ Promised Land may have been the intimate relationship he had with God. “The Lord would speak to Moses face-to-face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (Exodus 33:11) Moses had a unique relationship with God. Though he didn’t see God face-to-face, he was acquainted with God and God spoke to him as a friend, at times, audibly.

When Moses asked God to show him His glory because he wanted to see him in all his splendor, not masked by a burning bush or clouds, God gave Moses one of the most significant revelations about Himself found in the Bible. “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. ‘But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’ Then the LORD said, ‘There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.’ ”  (Exodus 33:21)

Moses was able to see something far greater than the Promised Land. He was able to see and experience God’s favor and glory, as well as experience the blessings that come from being a faithful leader in obedience to God’s call. He also experienced a beautiful, close relationship with God, which we have the opportunity to enjoy today. Through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and through His blood and resurrection, He has paid the penalty for our sins, and as a result, we can experience that same “face-to-face” closeness with God that Moses did….each and every day.

So wherever God calls you to go, walk by faith and know that He might be leading you to a place where the end result you had hoped for might not be visible by earthly standards.  Wherever God has called you out from, you can trust that not knowing the rest of that particular story is part of your present story…with plans to bring you to something greater accompanied by your faith in the unseen. You may not see the end result but the journey God has for you, with its hardships and blessings, may very well be your promised land rather than the land itself.

In my daughter’s case, the land was a shelf of condiments.

Recommended Scriptures:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18)

“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ ” (Isaiah 30:21)

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

 

 

Comments

  1. “Moses’promised land was His intimate relationship with God! ” I have not seen it that way prior to reading this, and it moves me to dwell on that. Perhaps we can all live more contentedly if we are impressed with the reality that each one of us can have this promised land TODAY! God does not limit me in the intimacy I can have with Him, but I can. Or I can embrace more deeply the promised land He has for me today.

    • This was really interesting and well written and thought out Linda 🙂 I personally never thought of Moses as being the sad one who didn’t get to go to the promised land—I have always viewed him as the very special one who was open enought and willing enough and surrendering enough to accept and HEAR God when He called him—-and so he was most loved by God for this. You are right—I have always thought “the prize” WAS his relationship with God, for who wouldn’t want to be so special they hear messages from our God Almighty? And, his ultimate prize was being with God in Heaven, which I believe he is right now 🙂 I look to Moses for guidance on how to be SO open every single second of every single day, that I can hear God telling me what to do and how to do it. There is awe in the stories of ALL the leaders in the bible because most of them (like Moses) said me Lord? Really??? How many of us have just said, oh, no, not me, He really couldnt be calling ME. But look at Moses and David and countless other “heroes” of the bible—as Joyce Meyer puts in one of her books, God will go with whoever is willing to hear and respond 🙂 We can all have that relationship with God here on earth, until our time when we get to rejoin Him in Heaven—if we just believe, it could be me He wants to talk to and direct!

      The other thing you were talking about LInda, how we want to know how our kids will turn out or how our lives will turn out—we want to plan and control it because that makes us feel better about things and wouldn’t it be great to know how it was all going to turn out? Well, I for one do not want to know ahead of time, no way!!! 🙂 For me, it’s more about trying hard to believe in today, that God is here with me now and will direct my steps through everything I go through today, which will lead into tomorrow, and into the next day. It has been a real process of mine to try to not control how HE would like my life to go, control freak that I am!!! I try to hold on to certain things, such as the promise of His glory if I trust Him, here today, through anything. Trusting that He has my back, that He has my best interests at heart, and that He will let me help how I need to help people, every single day. Moses had that trust of God, God said to do some pretty scary things (part the Red Sea?? Really? I’m sure he said OK if you say so….) but through it all, no matter what was coming at him, no matter what the circumstances said, no matter what the WORLD around him did, he just stayed calm or tried to stay calm and focused on the one being who could change it all—his Lord God.
      “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” Romans 8:24
      I have been confronted with very hard circumstances this entire year, yet I have found, it still comes down to what God has asked me personally, “Who do you trust?” When everything seems uncertain, I trust God with all my heart, for only He can get me through.
      “Dont be afraid, for I am with you.. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my right hand of righteousness.”
      I count on that and cling to it almost every single day 🙂
      Thanks Linda, for this beautiful post and this wonderful insightful blog. I love looking forward to readiing them all!!!!

  2. I did a study of Moses and came to the same conclusion, that his cherished gift from the journey was drawing so close to God and living with him all that time. The rest did not matter, b/c God was his Promise. So true for us, too. He is our goal, not particular accomplishments. And this is what I desire most deeply for my kids, a life walking with Him. Thanks for this reminder, God’s reminder!

  3. Oh this is SOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!! What a perfect reminder to not look for the promise land but live in it with our Holy Father!!! I love this perspective and your wisdom and insight!! Beautiful job. Sharing!!! 🙂

  4. {Melinda} Love this, Linda. We think that the reward is what is at the end of the journey, but often the reward is the relationship with Jesus that is sweeter and stronger through the journey. Such a good thing to remember.

  5. Thanks for putting that in your own words, Melinda! Our rewards are so much more about the eternal and less about the earthly end- result. Here’s to the encouragement we can all give to one another while on the journey!

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