There, exiled on the backside of the desert, Moses saw a burning bush that was not consumed and his dream was rekindled. There are three major principles revealed in this story that, when applied in your life, will rekindle the fire of your own dreams.
The first step is: Reject reasons for remaining where you are. Moses had a multitude of reasons why he couldn’t fulfill his dream.
First, he argued, “Who am I?”: "And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" (Exodus 3:11).
Like Moses, many of us struggle with past failures or a lack of abilities. God’s answer to Moses was, “It is not who you are that is important, but who I am!” It is not who you are that will advance your ministry, but who He is! You must act on the basis of who He is, not who you are.
Then Moses said, “I don’t have the authority. Who will I say sent me?" (Exodus 3:13). God’s answer to Moses was, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, ‘I AM hath
sent me unto you’” (Exodus 3:14). "I AM" has sent you also! God has given you authority over all the power of the enemy: "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19). You have the power and authority of God to walk into your destiny and fulfill it.
Next, Moses objected, “What if they don’t believe me?" (Exodus 4:1). God’s answer to this objection was, “What is in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2). In Moses’ hand was a rod which represented God’s power. Later on, this same rod was thrown down before Pharaoh and miracles happened, it was stretched over the Red Sea and the waters parted, and it brought forth water from a rock for a thirsty multitude. God is asking you the same question today: “What is in your hand?” You have talents, abilities, gifts, and skills that God can use if you will simply pick them up and begin to use them again: “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29).
Then Moses questioned, “What shall I say?” God responded, “I will be your mouth and
teach you what you should say” (Exodus 4:12). God’s Word to you today is, “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach...” (Romans 10:8).
In order to rekindle his dream, Moses had to eliminate all excuses. If you are to fulfill your divine destiny, you must do the same. Every reason why you “can’t” do it must go. You must eliminate every objection in the name of Jesus!
GOD KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE
The next important person along Israel's road to destiny was a man named Moses. The story of Moses’ early life is recorded in the first few chapters of the book of Exodus. Moses was born at a time of great peril when the ruling Pharaoh was having Israeli male babies killed in an attempt to thwart population growth. Pharaoh commanded the midwives, who assisted in the births, to kill the babies, but they refused. (In a spiritual parallel of this, there are always "midwives" who will help birth and protect your vision against the enemy. Surround yourself with these gifted and loyal people.)
Moses’ mother attempted to hide him, but he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter who raised him as her own son. In an act of divine providence, Moses' own mother became his nursemaid. As Moses grew, she undoubtedly taught him of his Jewish heritage and about the things of God. This is evident in his response as a young adult when he witnessed an Egyptian beating an Israelite. Moses most likely already had a dream of delivering his people from slavery when he witnessed this violent scene. Moses reacted in anger and killed the Egyptian taskmaster. Then, knowing his life was in danger for this act, Moses fled to the backside of the desert. For forty long years, Moses lived with the memory of an aborted dream. He had tried and failed. Would God ever use him again? Have you been there? Are you there right now? You stepped out to do what God called you to do, only to fail. Have you, like Moses, retreated to the desert of isolation to nurse your broken heart and your shattered dreams?
Finally, one day while watching a flock of sheep in the desert, Moses saw a burning bush which, miraculously, was not consumed. He drew near to the bush, and..."the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses, Moses.” And he said, “Here am I.” And he said, “Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Moreover he said, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:1-10).
God knew exactly where Moses was, there in the backside of the desert. He had not forgotten him. God has not abandoned you either, out there in the desert-land of your failure. He has not left you to die with your destiny unfulfilled.
A LEGACY FOR THE FUTURE
Joseph lived to be 110 years old. At the time of his death, Joseph left behind a powerful confirmation of God's divine destiny for the nation of Israel:
And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. (Genesis 50:24-26)
God's people, now known as the nation of Israel, were living in Egypt at the time of Joseph's death, having gone there to survive a world-wide famine. But as an heir of the promises of his spiritual forefathers, Joseph know Israel's ultimate destiny--and it wasn't Egypt.
Before his death, Joseph told the people, "You won't be here forever. God will surely visit you, and you shall go to the land which He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Great men come and go, but the covenant of God remains unchanged (Psalm 119:89).
Joseph instructed his brothers to put his bones in a coffin and take the coffin with them to the Promised Land when they returned to Canaan. Even in death, Joseph did not lose sight of Israel's divine destiny. He knew that God's people would return to their Promised Land, and Joseph wanted to be interred there.
After Joseph's death, the children of Israel continued to multiply and fill the land of Egypt (Exodus 1:7). Eventually, a new ruler came to power in Egypt and, feeling threatened by the growing population and power of the Israelites, he made them slaves. What a dark period for God's chosen people. Their dream of returning to their Promised Land probably seemed to be just that--a dream.
For years, the Israelites toiled under the affliction of their taskmasters who made their lives miserable with hard labor. But the more the Egyptians afflicted them, the more the children of Israel multiplied.
All through these dark years and the endless days of toil and affliction, there stood that casket containing Joseph's bones, a promise of their legacy and their destiny. "Someday," Joseph had said, "God will surely visit you. You will not remain in Egypt forever!"
We do not have a casket to look back on, but we have an empty tomb vacated when Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Despite the affliction you may experience on the way to your destiny, you have the legacy of His death, His resurrection, and His promises for the future.
GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD
After becoming a ruler in Egypt, Joseph married and the names he gave his two children were symbolic of the events he had experienced (Genesis 41:51-52). The first child was named Manasseh, meaning “God hath made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” Joseph didn’t forget his father’s house, but he forgot the pain associated with the events that occurred there. You may never forget the difficulties of the past, but God wants to heal you of the pain of these experiences.
Joseph’s second son was named Ephraim, meaning, “God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Joseph was fruitful in affliction because he let God heal him of the pain of his past. You must deal with the past before you can experience a fruitful future and fulfill your divine destiny.
Because of the famine, Joseph’s brothers were finally forced to travel to Egypt to secure food. When they were summoned to stand before Joseph, they didn’t even recognize him. They bowed in respect before him, and then Joseph remembered the dream--the vision God had given him years before when he was just a young man. As a child, Joseph had dreams of being in a place of responsibility and authority. All through the long, difficult years, Joseph never lost that dream. When at last he stood in the place of his God-appointed destiny, he remembered the dream: “And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed” (Genesis 42:9).
Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and Lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt" (Genesis 45:4-8).
Joseph realized that the painful events of his past were not just “tough luck” or “unfortunate circumstances.” He declared, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
Your past may have been difficult, but God meant it for good. Every adversity is bringing you nearer to your destiny. Joseph went through many difficulties, but God used each circumstance to fulfill His purposes. Joseph was being prepared to save the world. What great thing does God have planned for you? How will He use the experiences of your past as you surrender them to Him?
THE DOORWAYS TO DESTINY
Joseph’s early environment was not the only difficulty he encountered on the way to his destiny. In Genesis 37, we learn how Joseph’s brothers stripped him of his coat of many colors and threw him in a pit. Then they sat down, cold and uncaring, their ears deaf to his cries.
Can you identify with this? Have you been crying for help, with no response from those around you? Little did Joseph think that he would someday look back on this great tragedy as the most significant event in God’s plan for his life. The same may be true for you. The tragic situation you have experienced may be a doorway to your destiny. In Joseph’s life, the pit led to a palace!
When an Egyptian caravan passed by, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Then, in Genesis 39, you can read how Joseph suffered another tragic ordeal when, as a slave in Potiphar's house, he was falsely accused of immorality and thrown into prison.
Confinement is hard at any age, but Joseph was young and used to roaming the hillsides of Judea. Yet, he refused to give in to despair. In Genesis 39-40, we learn that Joseph was placed in a position of responsibility in the prison and ministered to a butler and baker who were confined with him, both of whom promptly forgot him when their situations changed.
Humanly speaking, Joseph had every right to develop a negative attitude. Family and friends failed him, he was falsely accused, imprisoned and forgotten by those to whom he had ministered. But little did Joseph know that every circumstance was moving him nearer to his God-given destiny. This is what God is doing in your life also. Every event in your difficult journey will be used by God to help you achieve your destiny.
Eventually, the butler to whom Joseph had ministered told Pharaoh about him at a strategic time when there was a need for the interpretation of a puzzling dream. Joseph interpreted the dream, was finally released from prison, became a ruler in Egypt, and saved multitudes from the impending death of a world-wide famine.
In every setback, the Lord was with Joseph (Genesis 39:3). God has been with you also, in that dysfunctional family and in the tragic experiences of your past. He has not abandoned you. He has a future planned for you. It is your divine destiny.
Negative experiences of your past cannot abort God’s purpose for your life unless you allow it by holding on to them in bitterness and unforgiveness. The difficulties you experience and the pain you endure are divine doorways to your destiny.
MOVING CLOSER TO DESTINY
Despite the years of struggle Jacob experienced--despite his few and evil days--the emerging nation of Israel was still on point with destiny. Jacob--or Israel, as he was known by his new name--became the father of a young man named Joseph who became a vital link in Israel's divine destiny.
For the next few days we will learn how Joseph's personal destiny was intricately entwined with God's plan for His chosen people. We will see how--despite great adversity--Joseph fulfilled his God-given vision. And yes--along the way we will find additional spiritual truths to apply to our own journey towards destiny.
Joseph had a difficult journey along the pathway to the fulfillment of his vision. You can read his story in Genesis chapters 30-50. Joseph’s home environment was anything but pleasant. As we have learned, his father, Jacob (Israel), had a history of deception. His mother, Rachel, was continually in conflict with Jacob’s other wife, Leah. Rachel was always trying to manipulate Jacob and gain his exclusive affection.
There was partiality in the home, which created rivalry and jealousy. Jacob preferred Rachel to Leah and Joseph over the other sons. The special coat given to Joseph by his father was more than just a beautiful garment. It was not the every-day work garment that shepherds wore, so it set Joseph apart as the favored child, one who would not be required to work as his brothers did.
As a young man, Joseph had a vision of his destiny which he shared with his family, and his brothers hated him for it (Genesis 37:8). (Be careful who you share your vision with!) They could not even speak peaceably to him and eventually they betrayed him by first casting him into a pit and then selling him into slavery (Genesis 37:24).
Joseph lived in a family dominated by deceit, immorality, manipulation, envy, and hatred. For seventeen years, he was raised in this dysfunctional family and then he was betrayed by his brothers. He could have blamed this environment for ruining his life and, in so doing, thrown away his future.
You may be able to identify with Joseph if you came from a home where you suffered abuse, rejection, or abandonment. The question is, will you let the pain of your past abort the future God has planned for you?
Like Joseph, you will experience many challenges as you rise up to embrace your destiny because Satan wants to abort your future. He wants to keep you captive in the pit of negative circumstances. He wants to keep you bound in the prison house of problems. You must recognize, however, that God is using every situation--both good and bad--to move you closer to your destiny (Romans 8:28).
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Jacob was an heir to the covenant promises of Abraham, but he did not realize the truth of his position in God, so he struggled spiritually for years. He did not comprehend his divine destiny or the fact that he was to be the father of Israel. He did not enjoy the provisions that had already been given to him, but manipulated and deceived others to try to obtain what he wanted.
Faith is a fact, but faith is also an act. What Jacob needed to do–and what we as believers need to do–is realize who we are in God and act upon that knowledge. You are an heir of God's promises! You do not have to struggle to receive these promises. You do not have to wrestle to claim them. If you are a born-again believer, you are already an heir of the promises of God.
The name "Jabbok" means a "place of passing over and of sudden advancement". At Jabbok, Jacob got a spiritual breakthrough and came to the realization of who he was in God and the promises he had inherited. Not only was his life changed, his name was changed. If you would know yourself as you are known by God, you would realize that not only has He created and redeemed you, He has endowed you with all of the tremendous promises of the Abrahamic covenant.
At Jabbok, Jacob lost his greatest natural strength. He was always running. Running from Esau, running from Laban, running in fear from his problems. No more. During the "wrestling match", Jacob's hip was supernaturally touched and came out of joint. Jacob limped away from that experience a new man--weak in the flesh, but changed in his spirit. At Jabbok, he received a new name: Israel. His new name represented his new nature, that of someone who had power with God and man.
At Jabbok, Jacob came to know God through relationship rather than religion with all of its associated trappings of vows, traditions, and memorials. How long will it take you to come to "Jabbok" spiritually? It took Jacob a long time, and many heartaches to arrive there. Years later, Jacob declared, "...the days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years; few and evil have the days of the years of my life been..." (Genesis 47:9).
God knew Jacob's weaknesses before he ever chose him to be an heir of the promises of Abraham and the father of the tribes of the nation of Israel. So why did God chose Jacob instead of Esau? Because He had to chose between a man who placed so little value on his birthright that he would sell it for a bowl of soup and one who wanted it so badly that he would manipulate in order to get it.
"Few and evil have been my days"--that was Jacob's testimony. What will be the testimony of your life? What epitaph would be written upon your gravestone if you were to die today? How long will it take for you to come to your spiritual Jabbok?
READY FOR BATTLE
The truth of Jacob’s circumstances is revealed in Genesis 32:28. Jacob was not a weak, defeated, fearful person who needed to run, compromise, and bow before men. He was a son of God who was called, ordained, and given power to meet every circumstance of life. The angel said, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."
Was Jacob someone special, that God would do this for him? Is God a respecter of persons? Would He give one of His children the power to overcome the circumstances of life and not give the same ability to another?
Of course not! What God did for Jacob, He has done for you. He is just waiting for you to view your circumstances from His perspective, to see yourself as you really are in Him, and to advance fearlessly to embrace your destiny.
Like Jacob, you have within you the power to face every challenge. This supernatural power is yours through your birth into the family of God. When you received Christ, your spiritual name was changed. Your nature was changed. As a child of the King you have power with God sufficient to prevail in every situation.
Life is made up of circumstances. Some are good, others are bad. Nearly every person reading these words has some spiritual battle going on in their lives, some adverse circumstance to overcome, some victory that needs to be won. If not, and you have a temporary respite, be aware that a battle is sure to come in the future.
It is a fact of the Christian life that you will experience battles: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). The devil will try to attack you so..."Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). You will experience trials: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (1 Peter 4:12).
Right about now you may be thinking, “This isn't a very encouraging devotion today--talking about negative things like battles, difficult circumstances, and trials!” But you will face these things on the road to your destiny, and you need to be prepared. Remember that the purpose of these meditations is to prepare you to fulfill your destiny.
The encouraging truth is that God's Word has promised that you will be victorious in every situation because: "...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Romans 8:37). Claim this promise today!
TAKING THE LEAD
On the way to meet Esau, Jacob organized his family into three groups. He was probably thinking, “All right--you in the first group go on out and meet Esau. He is coming with 400 mighty men, probably to kill me. When you see him, bow down, give him these gifts, and tell him they are from his servant, Jacob.” Jacob still didn't get it! He wasn’t Esau’s servant. Esau was Jacob’s servant. The prophetic word, even before their birth, was that the elder would serve the younger (Genesis 25:23).
You are not a servant of your circumstances. You need not bow or bend in the face of the enemy. There are powerful prophetic words that have been spoken over you by God Himself who has said: “Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19). God said: “And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail” (Deuteronomy 28.13). He has said: “Thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath” (Deuteronomy 28:13). And He has said: “The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways” (Deuteronomy 28:7).
As Jacob organized his family and possessions, he most likely thought: “When Esau kills the first group, perhaps the second and third groups will be able to escape. I will put everyone else in front and I will march behind them. For sure, I should be able to escape!”
But something amazing happened after Jacob's experience with the Angel of God. In Genesis chapter 32, Jacob is organizing his family and possessions and planning to take up a position in the rear. In Genesis 33:3 however, we are told that Jacob passed over before them. Jacob took the lead and went ahead of them to meet Esau. He may have still been wondering if he might die, but he faced his fear in the power of the Lord. Instead of an angry confrontation, Esau ran to Jacob, embraced him, and kissed him.
From this account we learn that when we view our circumstances in the natural, we may be tempted to retreat, manipulate, or compromise. But when we look at our circumstances through spiritual eyes, recognize who we are in Christ, and acknowledge the power of God resident within us, we will not cower at the rear of the procession. We will take the lead!
God went before Jacob and took care of every circumstance. There was no need to scheme or compromise, no need to be afraid. God had already taken care of the situation before Jacob arrived on the scene.
Today, God has already taken care of every situation you will face before you arrive on the scene. Release the supernatural power of God that is resident within you and march fearlessly towards your divine destiny. Enter into this day knowing that God has already gone before you.
THE TRAP OF COMPROMISE
Because of lack of understanding of God's promises, Jacob almost succumbed again to the trap of compromise. God had told Jacob to return to his homeland, that it would be well with him, and that he would be blessed. Doubting God's promises and acting out of fear, Jacob made plans for compromising with his brother who he perceived to be his enemy. He decided he would try to pacify Esau with bribes and gifts.
One of the greatest temptations believers face when we encounter challenges is to compromise. For example, a church may sincerely want to reach a city for God. They have the spiritual power and authority to do this, but what they do instead is compromise biblical standards to try to attract people to the church. They try wooing them by worldly activities instead of creating an environment where the supernatural power of God is manifested. They let down their godly standards to achieve what the world calls "success" in their ministries.
There are many believers who began their work for God on a proper foundation. They built their ministry on the scriptures, prayer, and the moving of the Holy Spirit. Somewhere along the way, however, they became sidetracked. They tried to become "somebody" by compromising with the world. They yielded to those who said they would donate substantial finances if they would do things a certain way.
Do you want your ministry to be God-controlled or man-controlled? Compromise results in a ministry that is man-controlled and devoid of the power of God. Compromise affects your integrity, your standards, the Word of God, and your destiny.
Jacob’s name was changed to reflect who he was in God. He had all the power he needed to face any circumstance. He didn't need to resort to bribes and compromising. As a believer, you too have been given a new name that reflects who you are in Christ. You are a "Christian" and have been given the Name of Jesus with all of its inherent power. You do not need to resort to worldly tactics in order to succeed.
What spiritual compromises are you making? Are you listening to unwise counsel from those around you who are telling you to compromise in your life or ministry? Compromise is the arch enemy of divine destiny.
Do not listen to the lies of the enemy. Do not consider the unwise counsel of those around you. Determine that you will never compromise with the enemy in order to achieve success. It is not necessary because you have supernatural power within you that is equal to any task!
In Genesis 32:28, the angel told Jacob that he already had something that by human effort he was still struggling to attain. Jacob did not need to struggle for God's power. He already had sufficient power, given to him years previously by the Lord.
As a believer, God has given you His power to meet every challenge in life. Could it be that this God-given ability to overcome any problem or circumstance is lying dormant within you, just waiting for you to recognize and activate it?
When will you stop struggling? When will you stop wrestling to obtain God’s power to help you face your circumstances? When will you stop battling in your own strength for spiritual breakthroughs in your ministry? These things do not come by struggling, but by faith in the power of God's promises.
Jacob's problem was that he was not partaking of the provision that already had been given to him through the covenant blessings of God. What Jacob needed to do, what the Church of Jesus Christ needs to do, and what you need to do is realize the tremendous power God has placed within you and begin to act upon that knowledge.
For years, Jacob did not realize the truth of his position in God. He lived up to the meaning of his name--Jacob–a manipulator, deceiver, sinner, and a fearful man. That’s who Jacob thought he was and why he acted the way he did, always running, hiding, manipulating, and being tormented by fear.
The Angel of the Lord knew who was wrestling with him, so why did he ask Jacob for his name? Because Jacob didn’t realize who he actually was in God. The Angel of the Lord asked his name so that Jacob would be forced to answer. The angel said, “What is your name?” Jacob said, “It is Jacob.” The angel said, “No, you are mistaken. Your name is Israel."
In essence, the angel said, “You think your name is Jacob? Well, it’s not! God has changed your name from Jacob, meaning the "deceiver", and renamed you Israel--meaning that you have power with God and man! You have supernatural power and you don’t even know it! You are running, hiding, and manipulating--and all the while, inside of you, you have the supernatural power of God Almighty available to draw upon.”
This is the condition of many believers. They do not realize who they are in Christ. They do not comprehend the meaning of the name by which they are called: Christians, members of the church of Jesus Christ. If only you would see yourself as you are seen by God! God knows you not as you are, but as you will become when you learn to access His resident power within you. But you must come to the place where you can recognize this yourself.
So starting today, let there be no more running, hiding, and manipulating. Inside of you resides the supernatural power of God that is sufficient to face every circumstance of life.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR POSITION
In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” The thief is Satan, and one of the things he seeks to steal is your position before God.
Self-esteem is defined as confidence in your own merit as a person, the quality of feeling worthy of esteem and respect by yourself and others. Low self-esteem is when you feel unworthy, alienated, and incompetent. But there is a differencebetween self-esteem and Christ-centered esteem. It is not who you are, but who He is and what He has done in your life. "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends" (2 Corinthians 10:17-18). Apart from Christ, you can do nothing and are nothing (John 15:5). Because Christ is in you, you are programmed for success. When you see yourself as a failure, however, your unbelief shuts you out of the promises of God just as Israel's unbelief prevented them from claiming their Promised Land.
Like Jacob, many believers have not come to the place where they fully comprehend their position in God. In Genesis 32, Jacob is involved in a wrestling match. The match is taking place between a physical human being and a spirit being. The Bible says “man” but we know from the text that Jacob’s opponent was an angelic being. Isn’t it strange that an angelic being has to ask Jacob, a human being, for permission to leave? (Genesis 32:26) Can you imagine yourself right now wrestling with a heavenly being and suddenly having that being ask you, “Would you please let go of me?”--and yet that is exactly what happened to Jacob. The impact of this is compounded when you realize that the Angel of the Lord had such tremendous power that he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh and made him a cripple. Jacob’s thigh came out of joint and he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. The angelic being had that much power over Jacob, yet he was not able to leave the presence of this man without his permission. Jacob didn’t wrestle to get God’s power. He already had God's power. Jacob already had the resident power of God within him, although he didn’t realize it for years. Finally, through this encounter with the angel, Jacob realized who he really was in God and that he had power to be an overcomer.
When the angel said, “Let me go, for the day breaks,” Jacob declared, “I will not let you go, except you bless me.” The angelic being blesses Jacob, but before he does, he tells him, “Jacob, you have power with God and with man and you have prevailed.” After making that statement, the angel blessed him. The blessing did not give him the power, because Jacob already had it lying dormant within him. The angel recognized something that Jacob himself did not realize. He recognized that Jacob had power with God. He certainly wasn’t acting like it. He wasn’t using it, nor was he demonstrating it in the circumstance of his life.
Could this be a picture of your life? God has given you supernatural power--just as He did Jacob. Do you really understand that you have power with God and man? That is your position in God. Start acting from this position of authority as you face the circumstances of life today.
You should get the true picture of your circumstances from what God has to say about them, not from what you perceive, from what man has to say, or from what natural circumstances seem to dictate.
Your shelves may say, “Look, I’m nearly empty. There’s no food left. You will soon run out of provisions and you will starve to death.” If your understanding is based on that empty cupboard, you are not understanding the situation as it really because the Word says: “... my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Your checkbook may reflect that you can't afford gasoline for the car to get to work or for money to buy a warm coat needed for cold weather. But you must not get your understanding from your bank account, but from the Word of God which says, “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).
The newspaper or nightly television news may claim that conditions are perilous because crime is rampant, but the reality is that God says to you:
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)
What the newspaper people, television personnel, and even your friends and family may not know is that although the facts may be true, there is no accurate understanding of a matter if they are devoid of God’s promises.
For every single situation in the world, for every fearful and overwhelming problem, God has the right viewpoint and is able to turn any situation completely around and give you victory. He reigns over every circumstance in your life. Every single one!
That is why it is important to know the truth of your situation is in the sight of God. Even if He doesn’t give you complete understanding of your circumstances, you can trust His understanding with utter confidence.
From birth, Jacob was led step-by-step by God to fulfill his destiny. God is leading you step-by-step also. You can trust Him to lead you each step of the way because He sees your circumstances as they really are and not as you perceive them to be.
STANDING ON THE PROMISES
Jacob had experienced several personal encounters with God since leaving home and he had been blessed mightily as far as family and material benefits were concerned. But still, in the recesses of Jacob’s mind there lingered the memory of the threat that his brother had made to kill him.
Jacob was looking at his circumstances in the natural, from the standpoint of what he deserved rather than on the basis of what God had promised. If we could just learn to see things as God sees them and adopt His point of view, how different our lives would be!
If we could see as God sees, we would never need to ask “Why, God?” But spiritual cataracts often blind our eyes so we cannot perceive our circumstances as they really are. We usually get our understanding of situations from what we see, what we hear, what someone tells us, or what we imagine might happen--but that is not God's perspective.
Jacob was fearful to return home and confront Esau, but the reality was this: During Jacob’s absence from his homeland, Esau had amassed plenty of wealth himself. Esau did not plan to kill Jacob. He was actually on his way to meet him and welcome him home.
There is a verse in the book of Proverbs that says, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). When your heart is not right with God, you will flee when there is nothing to fear. When you are right before God, you know that you have nothing to fear. You can stand in faith on His promises on the basis of His imputed righteousness that provides assurance of His Word. You have no righteousness in yourself because“...we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). As a believer, however, you are partaker of His righteousness and that instills within you the supernatural faith of God:
But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
In Christ’s righteousness you are able to see as He sees, think as He thinks, and react as He reacts: “Let this mind be in you, which also was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
As a true believer in Christ Jesus, are you seeing as He sees, thinking as He thinks, and reacting to your circumstances as He would react? Are you standing on the promises of God. or are you cowering in fear?
WRESTLING AT JABBOK
It had been over 21 years since Jacob extorted the birthright that belonged to his older brother, Esau. Jacob had also deceived his father, Isaac, into giving him the blessing which by tradition should have gone to his brother.
Esau was enraged after losing both the birthright and the blessing and he vowed to kill Jacob. With his mother’s help, Jacob fled to Haran where he worked for Uncle Laban. While there, God blessed Jacob with wives, children, and a large number of livestock, despite his continued deceptive and manipulative behavior.
Then one day God told Jacob to return home. In Genesis 32 we find him on his way, but extremely fearful that Esau would still be angry about the stolen birthright and blessing. In Jacob’s absence, Esau had become a powerful man with an army of soldiers and Jacob was afraid his brother would kill him and his family.
On the way home, Jacob encountered the angels of God. He named the place where they appeared to him "Mahanaim" meaning “two hosts” as a memorial of the experience he had there with God. Despite this supernatural revelation of the host of angelic beings that surrounded him, Jacob continued to be fearful concerning his circumstances.
Jacob also had the promises of God upon which to rely. He knew what God had promised him and even quoted it in his prayer saying, “The Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee.”
Despite the angelic visitation and the promises made by God, Jacob was still fearful as he prepared to meet his brother at a place called Seir--which means “rough or bristly.” That seems to be an adequate description of Jacob’s circumstances up to this point in time–rough and bristly. Jacob certainly had some deep soul-searching to do, so he sent his wives, children, servants, and all that he had over the ford at Jabbok and remained behind.
The meaning of the word "Jabbok" means “emptying or pouring out,” and that is exactly what Jacob experienced. As he tarried there alone, there came a supernatural being--the Angel of the Lord--who wrestled with Jacob until the breaking of day. During the struggle, the Angel of the Lord touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh, causing a painful dislocation. Despite the intense pain, Jacob continued to wrestle. The wrestling match finally ended with Jacob’s name, life, and nature being supernaturally changed (Genesis 32:24-30).
Have you experienced a spiritual Jabbok? God wants to change your life, but in order for this to happen you must--like Jacob--come to the end of yourself. You must allow God to supernaturally touch your life and transform your entire nature. Despite the difficulties of your past or the pain you are presently experiencing, you must persevere to receive the life-change you are seeking.
After the experience recorded in Genesis 28, Jacob's troubles continued because he had not changed. He deceived and was deceived by his Uncle Laban, married two wives, had many family problems, and was a man who could not control his household. Same old Jacob.
Why had Jacob not acted upon the revelation God gave him at Bethel? Genesis 32 reveals several things that hindered him--issues that can also prevent you from receiving your spiritual breakthrough.
-Denial. Jacob ran away from situations instead of confronting them. He fled from Esau, then he fled from Uncle Laban (Genesis 32).
-Deception. Jacob was deceived into thinking that material blessings were evidence of God's favor (Genesis 32:13,20). God wants to bless you financially, but wealth alone does not indicate you are walking in God's favor.
-Fear of man. Jacob fled from his home in fear and he returned back home in fear (Genesis 32:7,11).
-Manipulation. Instead of trusting God, Jacob continually was trying to manipulate people and circumstances to obtain what he wanted (Genesis 32:7-8).
-Compromise. Jacob sought safety, acceptance, and his own will at any cost, regardless of the compromise required (Genesis 32:19-20).
-Relying on the arm of flesh. Jacob was continually manipulating his circumstances to achieve his own plans and desires (Genesis 32:1-2).
-Religion instead of relationship. Jacob knew the Lord as the God of Abraham and Isaac, but he did not really know Him as his own God.
Nothing had changed. Jacob had not yet comprehended or claimed the promises of God given to him some 21 years previously.
What about you? Are you denying problems by running away from them? Are you deceived into thinking that financial blessings are a sign of God's approval? Are you a fearful, manipulative, and compromising person? Are you relying on yourself or others instead of God? Do you really know God, or are you depending on religion instead of true relationship?
How long will you wait to make a change?
IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD
In Genesis 28, we see a lonely man fleeing from his home. Jacob left Beer-sheba and traveled toward Haran on the way to his Uncle Laban's house, running away in fear from the problems he had created. At the end of a long day of travel, Jacob settled in as night fell with only a couple of stones for a pillow. This sad, solitary figure huddled in darkness on the cold ground does not seem like a man of God-given destiny.
But that night, Jacob had an amazing dream. He saw a ladder set up on earth, with the top reaching to heaven and the angels of God ascending and descending on it. Above it stood the Lord, who reconfirmed the promises He had made to Abraham saying:
I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. (Genesis 28:13-15)
What a marvelous experience! Jacob heard the voice of God, he was given powerful promises by the Lord, and his God-given destiny was revealed. When he awoke, Jacob made vows and paid tithes. He also built a monument and anointed it (Genesis 28:16-21).
Jacob had been in the presence of God, but, sadly, his life had not changed. He was the same old manipulator. He tried to make a deal with God pledging, "If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God" (Genesis 28:20-21).
Jacob tried to strike a bargain with God to bless his plans, supply his needs, and protect him--not realizing that God had already promised these things. All Jacob needed was readily available through the covenant promises given to Abraham, passed down to him, and reconfirmed in his dream. Jacob was in the very presence of God, yet he was groveling, begging, and seeking for what already had.
What are you begging God for that is already yours through the covenant promises? Are you trying to bargain with God by saying "..if You will, then I will"? Instead of trying to make deals with God, just claim His promises and begin to act upon them.
HOW GOD SEES YOU
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are mentioned frequently in scriptures as spiritual fathers of the nation of Israel.
Isaac, the son of Abraham, had two sons who were twins, Esau and Jacob. While these boys were in their mother's womb...
...the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
From before birth, Jacob's destiny was determined by God. Although he was the younger twin, he was chosen by God to receive the blessings and privileges normally reserved for the oldest son.
From the time of his birth, Jacob did not really understand the destiny that rested upon him. Even in the birth process, Jacob tried to prevent his brother from being born first by grasping his heel. Some years later, Jacob persuaded Esau to sell him his birthright for a bowl of soup. Later on, Jacob deceived his father in order to gain the blessing that was to go to the oldest son, his brother Esau (Genesis 25).
Jacob's life was a tangled web of adverse circumstances, most of which he caused himself. He was a liar. He was a deceiver. He was a coward, always running away from problems, He was a master manipulator. This doesn't sound like a man with divine destiny, does it?
But God was not looking at Jacob as he was. He was looking at Jacob as a man who would birth the twelve tribes of Israel. God is not looking at you as you are. He is not shocked back by your failures and faults. He does not see you bound with fear and unbelief. He does not see you weak in the faith.
God looks at you the same way He looked at Jacob. He sees someone who, when endued with His power and walking in obedience to His Word, will be a mighty person of valor. Many of the great men of the Bible experienced failures: Moses, David, Peter, and John Mark--yet God used these men as people of destiny.
Do you see yourself as you are, or do you view yourself as God sees you? Perhaps it is time to change your perspective.
COSTS, PRIORITIES, AND AIMS
Yesterday we saw the tremendous price Abraham was willing to pay in order to obey God. You will not reach your destiny without it costing something somewhere along the way.
In Luke 9:57-62, three men approached Jesus desiring to follow Him. To each of these potential disciples, Jesus revealed a different aspect of the requirements for fulfilling their purpose.
Considered costs. The first man attempted to follow through self-effort. He did not wait to be called by Jesus, but said "I will follow you wherever you go" (Luke 9:57-58). When Jesus shared with him the difficulties this would entail, there is no record that this man elected to follow. You cannot fulfill your destiny through self-effort. You will not be able to successfully confront the challenges that your spiritual purpose entails without a supernatural call from God.
Proper priorities. The second man received a call from Jesus, but he wanted to bury his father first (Luke 9:59-60). In Bible times when a person said he was waiting to "bury his father," it did not necessarily mean his father had died. It meant he was waiting until his father died in order to receive his inheritance. So when this man used this excuse, he was actually placing his future inheritance before the call of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the critical moment when Jesus summons you to embrace your destiny, nothing must be placed before that call.
Absolute aims. The third man desired to follow Jesus on his own terms (Luke 9:61-62). He wanted to return home first to tell his family goodbye. Bidding his family farewell sounds like a normal thing to do, but Jesus had called him to follow. Did he want to answer the call or follow his own plan for life? This man's aims in life were not settled. He was torn between the old life controlled by self and the new life to which Jesus called.
When you were called to follow Jesus in accepting salvation, you had to abandon the old life in order to receive the new. Your priorities changed. It may have cost your relationship with friends or family when you accepted Jesus as your Savior. The call to fulfill your destiny will also cost. Jesus said:
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish...So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 1428-30,33)
Have you considered the costs of pursuing your divine destiny? Is the thing God is calling you to do your main priority, the absolute aim, the most important thing in life to you?
THE VISION WILL NOT DIE
Isaac, the son of Abraham, was the promised child through whom the vision of the nations was to be manifested. God had declared:
...Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. (Genesis 17:19)
In a dramatic story recorded in Genesis 22:1-14, Abraham is commanded by God to sacrifice Isaac to the Lord. God said, "...Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of" (Genesis 22:2).
Why would God give Abraham a promised son, only to tell him to sacrifice the boy as an act of worship? We do not find Abraham questioning God's instructions. In fact, we are told that he "rose up early in the morning" to do as God had commanded (Genesis 22:3). Some of us cannot be bothered to get up early for a quiet time with the Lord, much less to fulfill a difficult command.
Abraham did exactly as God instructed. When he and Isaac arrived at the chosen mountain, Abraham told his servants, "You wait here while the lad and I go to worship." True commitment to God demands sacrifice. Sometimes the required sacrifice is what is nearest and dearest to your heart.
Although God intervened and Abraham did not sacrifice his son that day, the important point is that he was willing to do so. Abraham knew that no matter what--even if it meant the loss of his chosen son--God would fulfill His promises.
This road you are traveling to your destiny is not an easy one. God may ask you to sacrifice certain things along the way. Will you be willing? Will you consider whatever it costs you to be an act of worship, as Abraham did?
No matter what your losses--even if you lost what you thought was necessary to fulfill your destiny--the vision is greater than your losses. Abraham knew that if he was required to sacrifice his son, the vision would not die upon that lonely hill that day. God would remain faithful to His promises because He was greater than the vision.
What has God asked you to sacrifice? Are you able to lift it up to Him as an act of worship? What great losses have you experienced? Whatever the loss, your vision will not die because the One who gave it still lives. Whatever you have sacrificed, it was not necessary to retain it in order to fulfill your vision or else God would not have permitted the loss.
FOLLOWING THE PATHWAY
We are tracing the footsteps of the nation of Israel from its inception to their arrival in their Promised Land, learning from their experiences and applying vital principles to our own journey of destiny.
During the month of January we walked in the footsteps of Abraham, the spiritual father of the nation of Israel. We learned how his vision was birthed and the foundational promises upon which that vision rested, applying the truths we learned to our own lives.
When the vision was first given to Abraham, he was living among idolaters. His past had been unproductive and his present was no better. But he did not accept circumstances as they were, nor was he affected by the deadness of his own body or the barrenness of Sarah's womb. He embraced the promises of God--believing in hope when there was no cause for hope in the natural.
Perhaps your past has been spiritually unproductive and your present is unfruitful. But now you are receiving a vision of divine destiny. You are learning to look with spiritual eyes into the invisible and this will enable you to dare to do the impossible. As Abraham, you are looking with eyes of faith to the future knowing that "He who has promised is able also to perform it."
During this month, we will continue the story of the nation of Israel. We will follow the next sequence of events orchestrated by God to move His people towards their divine destiny. We will witness how God remained faithful to His covenant promises in the lives of Abraham's descendants--Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and the nation of Israel.
As you follow this segment of Israel's history, you will learn additional principles to apply to the journey along your own pathway to divine destiny.
EMBRACING YOUR VISION OF DESTINY
As we pause to reflect on the coming days of this year, we are much like God’s people, Israel, who came to the border of their Promised Land. Ahead of them lay a land they had not seen and unknown enemies.
The same is true for you. You stand at the threshold of a brand new year. Ahead of you lies the unknown. What new challenges will you face this year? What victories await you? What changes will occur throughout the world? How will your personal life, your ministry, and your family be impacted in the coming months?
God instructed Israel to follow closely behind the Ark of the Tabernacle, which was symbolic of His presence in the midst of His people. He told them to follow it“…that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way before” (Joshua 3:4).
As we think about the coming year, we too “have not been this way before.” We do not know what joys and sorrows or victories and problems lie ahead. But one thing is for sure--we have the same assurance that God gave to Joshua at the border of Canaan:
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)
God has promised to be with you wherever you go. He has commanded you to be strong and of good courage and not to be dismayed. The presence of God is advancing before you into the coming year, just as the Ark led Israel into the unknown territory that lay before them.
During this year, we will follow the journey of Israel from their inception as a nation to their entry into their Promised Land. As we follow in the footsteps of God’s chosen people, we will draw many spiritual parallels that apply to our own lives. There are some exciting times ahead for us as we look by faith to the future. God has tremendous victories planned for us in the coming days. There are some major challenges ahead also, but… “…We are well able to conquer it…He will bring us into this land and give it to us…” (Numbers 13:30; 14:8, AMP).
During the month of January, we will begin where Israel began. The pathway to their destiny began with a man named Abraham who received a vision and stepped out by faith to embrace his divine destiny. Through meditating on his story you will learn how a spiritual vision is conceived, developed, and birthed by faith. You will learn of the covenant promises Abraham received that are yours also--promises that assure that you will reach your destiny.
1 Where There Is No Vision
2 The Birth Of A Vision
3 The Stages Of Birth
4 The Time Of Transition
5 The Birth
6 Tarrying In Haran
7 One Man With A Vision
8 Moving Towards Destiny
9 Leaving Lot
10 Believing The Promises
11 Heir To The Promises
12 When There Is No Hope
13 The Covenant
14 A Confirmed Covenant
15 Abundant Life
16 Spiritual Circumcision
17 Blessed To Bless
18 No Small Thinking
19 Your Shield
20 Your Great Reward
21 Living Long Enough
22 A Name Change
23 Multiplied Seed
24 An Everlasting Covenant
25 Possessing The Gates
26 God's Immutable Word
27 Don't Be Shut Out
28 Grasshopper Mentality
29 The Purpose Of Blessing
30 Your Spiritual Vision
31 The Harvest-Time Vision
WHERE THERE IS NO VISION
The Bible states in Proverbs 29:18, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." The vision to which this verse refers is spiritual vision. Spiritual vision provides direction. It provides challenge and structure for life. Without it, people become spiritually dead.
Developing spiritual vision is the process of recognizing the purpose for which you have been brought into the Kingdom of God. Spiritual vision involves seeing beyond the natural world into the spiritual world. It is understanding the divine purpose of God and recognizing your part in His plan. Spiritual vision provides a clear image of what God wants you to do and then directs every step of your life towards achieving that goal.
Believers who are spiritually "perishing" are in one of the following categories:
-They do not have spiritual vision.
-They have received a spiritual vision but have been disobedient to it.
-They have a vision, but do not know how to fulfill it. They have tried and
failed or perhaps have never tried at all.
Why is spiritual vision necessary? Why do people perish without it? The answer is found in an account recorded in 2 Kings 6:15-17. God's people, Israel, were surrounded by an enemy nation who had many soldiers, horses, and chariots of war. When Elisha's servant, Gehazi, saw the great force of the enemy, he was afraid and cried out to Elisha, "What shall we do?" Elisha told him:
Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
(2 Kings 6:16)
Then Elisha prayed that God would open Gehazi's eyes and allow him to see into the spirit world. The request was granted, and Gehazi saw the spiritual forces of God surrounding Israel.
An important point in this story is that without spiritual vision the people of God cannot see beyond the natural circumstances of life. Like Gehazi, they are defeated by the powers of the enemy which they see at work in the natural world around them. Their vision is focused on their problems and their life becomes a cycle of crying out, "What shall we do?" Without spiritual vision, they cannot comprehend the divine plan of God.
To reach your destiny, you must have vision. As you progress through this devotional guide, pray that your spiritual eyes will be opened and that God will give you a clear vision of His plan for your life.
THE BIRTH OF A VISION
God wants to give you a spiritual vision and reveal to you the purposes and objectives which will enable you to fulfill it. As you experience the "birth of a vision" you will become a participator instead of a mere spectator in God's divine plan.
The natural birth process which brings a human baby into the world is similar to the process of the birth of a vision in the spirit world. For the next few days we will meditate on the birth of a vision. You will experience five stages as you give birth to spiritual vision: Conception, development, travail, transition, and birth.
Conception. "Conception" means to create. A spiritual vision is created in your spirit by God. Just as conception in the natural world occurs through intimacy, so intimacy with God is required to birth spiritual vision.
Development. When you first receive a spiritual vision, it is in "embryo" form. An embryo is a basic cell of life. Like the development of the human embryo, God develops your spiritual vision as it grows within you. The basic cell of life in a human baby is the embryo. From it all the basic human features are developed. If you try to change the embryo, deformity or death can occur to the child.
God conceives the basic vision--a spiritual embryo from which all the features of the vision develop. If you try to change the original vision, it will be deformed from the perfect plan of God or it may be aborted. The vision grows and develops as you mature spiritually. Its features will not be the same as yesterday, last week, or last month. But you must never forget the basic embryo of divine purpose for which you are called.
This development of a vision will be a stretching experience, as it is in the natural world within the body of a mother. If the vision does not develop, it will die. Just as a mother carries her child within her body, your vision is with you constantly. It becomes a vital, living part of you. It draws from your own life source as well as from the divine source which conceived it.
While the baby is developing, a pregnant mother will deny herself certain things that might harm the child. As your spiritual vision develops, you may have to do this also. You may need to deny your own plans and ambitions. You may have to lay aside worldly attitudes and conduct. You will have sacrifice time to prepare to fulfill God's purposes.
Have you conceived a vision of your divine destiny? At what stage of development is your spiritual vision? What changes should you make in your life in order for your vision to develop properly?
THE STAGES OF BIRTH
The natural birth process which brings a human baby into the world is similar to the process of the birth of a vision in the spirit world. Yesterday we meditated on conception and development of a vision. The next stage is travail.
Travail. Ecclesiastes 5:3 states: "For a dream cometh through the multitude of business" (Ecclesiastes 5:3). The meaning of the word "multitude" is "great". "Business", according to one Hebrew meaning, is travail--meaning difficulty. So a dream or vision comes through "great travail.”
In natural birth there are facts about travail that parallel the spiritual travail which births a vision. Natural travail is a time of intense, concentrated effort to birth a child. This time of travail is also called "labor.” As in the delivery of a child, a spiritual vision is birthed by intense mental, physical, and spiritual concentration.
In the natural world, during the time of travail the one giving birth must let the natural birth process take control. Physically forcing the baby into the birth canal before it opens can kill the child. The same is true in the spirit world. In order to birth spiritual vision you must let God take control of your life. If you try to birth the vision in your own strength it will abort the plan of God. Everything within you may cry out to push and bring the spiritual vision forth with natural abilities, but by self-effort you can destroy the vision.
As a mother in travail hides herself from public gaze, so those in travail spiritually must be alone with God. The birth of a vision--the revelation of your divine destiny--will not occur if you are constantly busy, surrounded by people and projects. As a mother about to give birth, you must seek seclusion for the spiritual birthing process.
Travail is not easy. If you have been going through difficult times--through no fault of your own--could it be that God is birthing a new vision in you? Many times people blame Satan for circumstances that are actually engineered by God to take them to their destiny.
Take time to be alone with God during the difficult time of travail. Let the Holy Spirit bring forth the vision in God's perfect timing. Let God maintain control of the process because if you try to bring your vision to pass in your own strength, you will abort it.
Spiritual birth, like natural birth, is a process.
THE TIME OF TRANSITION
We are meditating on the natural birth process and applying it to the birth of a vision. The stages we have discussed previously were conception, development, and travail. Next comes the time of transition.
Transition. In the natural birth process there is a time during labor known as the time of "transition.” It is the most difficult time of travail right before the birth canal is open to permit the child to be born.
This parallels the birth of a vision in the spirit world. When God births in you a spiritual vision, you will experience a time of transition. Transition means change. As God gives you new spiritual vision it will require change in your life. It will call for a new commitment and dedication.
You may experience pressure in every area of your life. Everything within you may cry out for relief from the spiritual birth pangs of what God is bringing forth. This is the point where many fail to receive their spiritual destiny. Repeatedly, God has brought His people to the time of transition to birth His vision through them, but because the transition was too difficult many have turned back. They could not take the pressure of this most difficult time. A new vision required changes in thoughts, actions, and lifestyle which they were not willing to make. They could not abandon their own self-effort and traditions. They would not set aside their own ambitions and desires to embrace the plan of God.
This is what happened to the nation of Israel:
Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in Thy sight, O Lord. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. (Isaiah 26:17-18)
Travail and transition are painful experiences, but it is only by these that the vision can be birthed:
...for as soon as Zion (God's people) travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.
The pain you have experienced and are experiencing is birthing something new in you. You are giving birth to your divine destiny.
We are meditating on the natural birth process and applying it to the birth of a spiritual vision. The stages we have discussed previously were conception, development, travail, and the time of transition. The final stage in the process is the actual birth.
The birth. The development of a spiritual vision has an expected end, just as in the development of a human embryo. That anticipated end is birth. Your vision becomes reality.
Premature birth and delayed birth can result in death, both in the natural birth process and in the birth of spiritual vision. Do not move ahead of God and do not lag behind. Keep right in step with Him during the birth of your vision and you will be well on your way to your divine destiny.
After birth in the natural world, a child needs constant care as it continues to grow and develop. After birth of a spiritual vision, that vision will continue to develop, but like a child you must protect and nourish it. Your vision will develop different features and form, but every feature develops from that basic cell of spiritual life which is the vision.
Let's review the stages of the birth of a vision upon which we have been meditating:
-Conception: Occurs during times of intimacy with God.
-Development: Requires time and patience.
-Travail: Difficulties arise as you near the birth.
-Transition: The most difficult time right before the vision is birthed.
-The birth: The vision becomes a reality.
Birth requires change. In the natural world, the child must leave the security of the womb. When you were born-again you had to leave the old life of sin. You had to let Jesus change your thought and action patterns.
Are you ready to receive spiritual vision? Are you willing to experience spiritual travail in order to birth something new in your life? If you are not willing, you had better read a different devotional guide. Once you glimpse the vision of your divine destiny shared in these pages, your life will never again be the same.
To give birth to spiritual vision also requires change. It requires courage to step from the known into the unknown. And that brings us to Israel's story which began with a man named Abraham.
TARRYING IN HARAN
The story of Abraham is the beginning of the saga of Israel's divine destiny. His story relates to you, as you will see during the next few devotional readings that are centered on this man. Abraham's story is recorded in Genesis chapters 11-25.
Abram--as he was first called--lived with his family in a city called Ur in ancient Babylon. He was the son of Terah and married to a woman named Sarai. She was barren, and they had no children.
And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. (Genesis 11:31-32)
Terah, Abram's father, took his family and left Ur for Canaan. We are not told how Terah received the idea of going to the land of Canaan, but somehow he envisioned a better place for his family than the evil environment in which they were living. But the family never made it to Canaan during Terah's lifetime. What hindered their vision from becoming a reality? What aborted their divine destiny? Two major factors emerge, hindrances that we must avoid as we pursue our own destinies.
First, they settled where they were. On their way to Canaan, the family came to the city of Haran which was a junction for three major caravan routes and consequently a great commercial emporium. It was easier to settle here in a prosperous city than continue on into the unknown. Second, they served other gods. Joshua reveals this fact in his final message to the Israelites (Joshua 24:2). We are not told what gods they served, but it is likely that they embraced the idolatrous ways of the people among whom they lived.
As you journey towards your divine destiny, you, too may be tempted to settle down. It might be easier to remain where you are than to move across the country or around the world to fulfill God's call. You may be comfortable in your present environment. You may be tempted by the "idols" of this world--a good job, a career path, material, possessions, etc. But if you remain where you are, you may die without fulfilling your vision.
Terah died in Haran. He never fulfilled his dream. He never reached Canaan. You may remain secure where you are, surrounded by what you know, enjoy, and love. But you will die spiritually if you remain where you are and do not pursue your divine destiny. Do not live the "settled for" life.
ONE MAN WITH A VISION
At age 75, while living in Haran, Abraham--the son of Terah--received a call from God to go to an unknown land that the Lord would show him:
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3)
God also told Abraham that He would make his descendants a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3). The promise must have seemed unbelievable to Abraham because his wife, Sarah, was elderly and childless, but Abraham obeyed God and began the long journey into the unknown (Genesis 11:30-31; 17:15).
Abraham traveled south along the trade routes from Haran, through Shechem and Bethel, to the land of Canaan. This was a populated area, inhabited by the war-like Canaanites, so Abraham's acting upon God's promises to even begin this journey was a tremendous declaration of faith:
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:8-10)
Like Abraham, you too have a divine destiny. Your ancestors may have missed it, as Terah did. Your parents may have not fulfilled it. But if you will act upon God's mandate, you won't miss it!
How do you do this? By faith. The scriptures say, "By faith Abraham obeyed and went out..." You may not understand the details of the destiny to which God is calling you but, like Abraham, you must step out by faith and start your journey into the unknown. Abraham knew God had called him to a promised land. He knew he had a divine purpose, but in order to reach his destiny, he must make the first move. So must you!
Take the first step towards your destiny today. Your first step might mean making plans to relocate geographically. You might need to enroll in school to learn a special skill. You might need to learn a foreign language to prepare for the mission field. What is your first step towards the fulfillment of your vision?
MOVING TOWARDS DESTINY
We learned in yesterday's devotion that Abraham stepped out in faith and began moving towards his divine destiny. Had he not done so, he might have died in Haran just like his father.
You will never reach your destiny by remaining where you are spiritually. All throughout scripture, God responds to those who move out in faith:
-We are told to ask, seek, and knock--then we receive the answer.
-We are told to give and we will receive.
-When you come boldly before the throne, you find grace to help in time of need.
-When you come to Christ for salvation, He extends forgiveness.
-As you forgive others, you are forgiven.
-The poor widow made dinner for the prophet first, then her own needs were met.
-The woman in debt was told to get empty pots. When she did, God filled them.
-Moses was told to stretch out his rod over the Red Sea and the waters would part.
-The priests were to step into the Jordan and it would open before them.
-Jairus came to Jesus for help for his daughter and she was healed.
-The woman with the issue of blood pressed through a crowd to touch Jesus and received her healing.
We are not necessarily talking about changing your geographic location--although that may be involved. We are talking about a spiritual move. If you stay where you are spiritually, nothing will change. Businesses that remain stagnant and do not advance are passed up by other firms. If you need a job, you cannot expect to get one if you do nothing about it. You must send out resumes, search the help wanted ads, and arrange interviews. If you want a college degree, you must enroll in classes. You must take a new step of faith.
There were four lepers in Old Testament times who decided they would die if they remained where they were, alone and without basic provisions (2 Kings 7). It was risky to go into the enemy's camp, but they rose up and did so. They made the first move, and their destinies were changed when they found a deserted camp filled with abundant provisions.
Likewise you will die spiritually if you remain where you are. Your vision will fade, and your dream will die. When you start to move towards your destiny, God begins to move in your behalf. When you make a move in faith, God responds.
Moving towards destiny...what step of faith do you need to take today?
The Lord said to Abraham, "...Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee..." (Genesis 12:1). Note that Abraham was to leave his kindred behind. Yet, in Genesis 12:4 we read, "So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him." A short statement, but one with a depth of meaning.
Lot and his family turned out to be nothing but trouble for Abraham. Problems first arose when the land could not support both of them and their livestock, and strife arose between their herdsmen. Genesis 13, records how Abraham gave Lot the opportunity to choose land and separate from him. Instead of choosing property somewhere in Canaan, Lot chose to live near Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a beautiful and fertile place, but the cities were filled with sinful, idolatrous people. Sometimes things that look good on the surface are not so good when you take a closer look through eyes of faith. Why didn't Lot choose some land in Canaan? The Promised Land was well-able to support both him and Abraham.
Abraham took Lot with him when he left Haran, and Lot's problems became Abraham's problems. Genesis 14 records how Abraham had to rescue Lot when he was taken captive by the enemy. Genesis 19 records the final judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah and how Abraham had to intercede to save Lot.
When an angel came to rescue Lot and his family from destruction in Sodom, Lot tried to persuade his sons-in-law to go with them, but they refused and even mocked him. During the evacuation, Lot's wife looked back in violation of God's instructions and she died. Lot's daughters later committed incest with him because their husbands had remained behind in Sodom and were killed. Are you beginning to see why God told Abraham to leave his kindred behind?
As you travel towards your own spiritual destiny, you, too, may be required to part with family or friends. Some partings may be simply the result of your need to move on to the next part of your spiritual journey. But there may be times when God commands you to separate from someone, and if and when He does, you must do it! If you do not obey and remain attached to that person, their problems will become your problems.
It was only after separating from Lot that God spoke to Abraham once again.. "And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him..." (Genesis 13:14). Abraham was about to receive the details of his divine destiny. And it happened after the separation from Lot.
Has God shown you someone or something from which you must separate? You may not receive revelation of the next step in your journey towards destiny until you do so.
BELIEVING THE PROMISES
"Get up. Leave your country, your kindred, and your father’s house,” God commanded Abraham. Abraham was 75 years old when he stepped out by faith to embrace his destiny. Do not let age be a factor in your obedience. God knew your age when He called you. The psalmist David declared, "Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee" (Psalm 39:5).
An aging man, walking alone beneath the stars--now God speaks to him once again:
And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. (Genesis 13:14-17)
Separation leads to revelation, and revelation leads to destiny. God tells Abraham, "Your destiny is unlimited. Look north, south, east, and west. I will give the land to you!"
A great story–but much more than a story. More than a historical record of the birth of the nation of Israel and the beginning of the destiny planned for God's chosen people. More than the story of one man. It is the story of a divine covenant–the supernatural promises of God–intended to pass from generation to generation, down through the centuries. It is the story of divine destiny--and it affects you!
God made specific promises to Abraham to which He committed Himself. This contractual agreement has been called the "Abrahamic covenant." The Bible records several occasions where God appeared to Abraham to make, confirm, or amend these promises.
The provisions of this agreement, which ultimately would result in blessing all the families of the earth, were not only extended to Abraham, but to his seed after him–Isaac, Jacob, and the nation of Israel. Abraham would be the father of Israel and many other nations (Genesis 17:5). Though childless at the time, with a barren wife beyond child-bearing years, Abraham believed these promises from God and acted upon them: "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Romans 4:3).
God's promises to you may seem impossible right now, but if you act upon them in faith as Abraham did, they will become reality.
HEIR TO THE PROMISES
You are about to discover a spiritual truth so tremendous that, when you grasp it, your entire life will change. You are an heir! You may not have a rich relative or a financial endowment that has been passed down to you, but you are a spiritual heir of an inheritance that is far greater. It is an inheritance so great that it encompasses every area of your life. It has the capacity to heal every painful experience you have ever had, supply every need, and equip you for victorious living and effective service in God’s Kingdom. This spiritual inheritance is called “the Abrahamic covenant.” The Abrahamic covenant will take you beyond a blessing into a realm that makes the impossible possible.
As God had promised, Abraham was eventually blessed with a son, Isaac, through whom the nation of Israel was birthed:
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. (Hebrews 11:11-12)
In the book of Revelation, the "stars" represent the church. Throughout scripture, the land--the dust or sand--is representative of Israel. As believers, we do not replace Israel, but we are recipients of the same covenant blessings. Just as they did for Abraham, these promises and blessings will enable you to fulfill your divine destiny.
Genesis 21-35 records the story of Isaac, Abraham's son. As you read through it you will see the tremendous blessings of God upon his life. The provisions of this covenant then passed on to Isaac’s son, Jacob. Despite a rough start, Jacob’s life was eventually supernaturally changed and with it came a new name--“Israel.” Jacob was mightily blessed of God through the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant, then these promises were passed on to his children, and the nation of Israel was birthed.
The tremendous blessings of Abraham extend even further than the nation of Israel, however. The Apostle Paul declared: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:16-17). Romans 4:16 declares that Abraham was the “father of us all." As Abraham’s spiritual seed and a joint-heir with Christ, you are an heir to these covenant promises. The Apostle Paul declared, “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3;29). These promises will make your destiny a reality, just as they did for Abraham.
WHEN THERE IS NO HOPE
We are walking in the footsteps of Abraham enroute to the Promised Land as we make our journey towards spiritual destiny. As you have learned, as a true believer, you are Abraham’s spiritual seed and the promises that God made to him extend down through the centuries to you:
That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (Romans 9:8)
Everything you need to reach your destiny--spiritually, physically, mentally, and financially--is provided by the Abrahamic covenant. Yet, there are few believers today who comprehend this and are claiming these amazing covenant privileges.
These blessings from God are so great that they extend to areas where man would say you are crazy to even have hope. Abraham “...against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be” (Romans 4:18). The Abrahamic covenant will enable you to believe when there is no hope in the natural:
-The blessing of Abraham goes where the doctor has said, “No hope.”
-It goes where the banker has said, “No hope.”
-It goes where the attorney has said, “No hope.”
-It goes where the marriage counselor has said, “No hope.”
-It goes where those around you have declared, “No hope.”
Claiming your inheritance under the Abrahamic covenant will renew your hope and give you supernatural faith to persevere and reach your divine destiny.
When Abraham first received this powerful covenant, it was so great that he fell on his face before God (Genesis 17:17). But the Bible declares that Abraham “... staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:20-21).
These promises are so great that they could cause you to stagger in unbelief. Like Abraham, however, you must be fully persuaded that the provisions of this covenant are for you and that God is able to bring them to pass in your life.
By faith, be fully persuaded of the amazing promises of God. Every provision has already been made to enable you to achieve your destiny.
The blessings of Abraham–and all of God's promises–are based upon a covenant relationship with God. A covenant is an agreement between two people that make promises to one another. The Hebrew word for covenant is b'rith, which means cutting. Biblically, this refers to a custom in Old Testament times where two people making a covenant passed through the bodies of slain animals after making an agreement.
When one “cut covenant” in Old Testament times, it involved a statement of the terms of the agreement; an oath from each party; a curse upon whoever should break the agreement; and the sealing of the covenant by a blood sacrifice. Violation of such a covenant was considered a heinous act.
The truly remarkable thing is that God consented to enter into this amazing covenant with mankind. In the Old Testament, God made a covenant with Abraham and his seed, stated the terms, swore by Himself, and sealed the agreement with the blood of sacrificial animals. In the New Testament, this covenant was reconfirmed through the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ:
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
The Greek word for “covenant” used in the New Testament, means “a contract or a will.” Simply stated, our covenant with God, is the title deed to our inheritance. It is a legal, spiritually binding agreement between God and man.
When God called Abraham to leave his home and go to the Promised Land, He declared that He would make Abraham a great nation with many descendants. In Genesis 15 Abraham questioned this promise because of his advanced age and childless condition, and the Lord reaffirmed it. Abraham's response to God's promises is a model of believing faith: "And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).
Over the years, God has made many promises to you. Some promises are directly from His written Word. Others may have been specific prophetic promises that are in line with Scriptures. Do not question these. Embrace them by faith.
A CONFIRMED COVENANT
Genesis 15 describes a ceremony commonly used in the ancient world to formalize a covenant. The custom was that both parties making the covenant would walk together between the pieces of slain animals (Jeremiah 34:18-19). This custom confirmed that the terms of the covenant were mandatory on both parties. If one party violated any part of the covenant, it would free the other party from the necessity of fulfilling his promises.
But this ceremony, which occurred between God and Abraham to confirm the covenant, was different in one very important aspect:
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram...and it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram. (Genesis 15:12, 17-18)
Abraham and God did not walk together between the slain animals, as was the custom. God put Abraham in a deep sleep and God alone--in the form of a smoking oven and a flaming torch--walked between the pieces of the sacrifice. This meant that the fulfillment of the covenant was based solely upon God's grace, regardless of response of Abraham or his descendants.
Abraham could not be responsible for the covenant, but could only be a recipient of it. He might fail, but the covenant would remain intact. God would never fail, for He promised, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips” (Psalms 89:34).
You are a recipient of this powerful covenant with all of its promised benefits. It is passed on to you as the spiritual seed of Abraham. No matter how weak you think you are spiritually, the covenant promises are not dependent upon you. You are only a recipient. The fulfillment is based solely upon God’s grace and His faithfulness.
You are a spiritual heir of every blessing of the Abrahamic covenant. The words “bless” and “blessing” are used repeatedly in these promises. The root word is barak and means "to confer abundant life and to endue with power for success, prosperity, and long life".
God's covenant with you is confirmed in His Word. If you have failed in the past, the covenant remains intact. The promises are not dependent upon you. They exist independently of you, but only through your obedience will they be manifested in your life.
The blessings God conferred upon Abraham which are passed on to you as his spiritual seed, endue you with power for an abundant life. They assure power for success, prosperity, fruitfulness, healing, blessing, and long life. The blessings of Abraham were given from God through Christ to you:
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds", meaning many people, but "and to your seed", meaning one person, who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16, NIV)
If you are a born-again believer, then these blessings are yours. This is what makes an understanding of this covenant so vital. Many believers are living far below their spiritual heritage because they do not understand that this covenant extends to them. They do not understand its provisions or how to receive the benefits. This lack of knowledge results in many living defeated and desperate lives. God’s Word declares, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...” (Hosea 4:6).
The provisions of this covenant are yours, passed on to you from God through Jesus Christ. The covenant is confirmed in your life the same way it was in the life of Abraham--by God alone. Jesus Christ walked alone to Calvary and, through His blood sacrifice, paid the price for your salvation and the spiritual benefits of this covenant:
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
(2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
The fulfillment of this covenant is not dependent upon you. It is only dependent upon your obedience to accept and act upon the terms of the covenant. You must believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Savior in order to become the spiritual seed of Abraham:
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:8-10)
The promises of the Abrahamic covenant are attained by grace, through faith, just as your salvation is secured: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
You cannot enter into this covenant without a personal relationship with God. It is not whatyou know about this covenant–its terms and provisions--but Who you know that will make these blessings a reality in your life. God’s covenant with Abraham was based on relationship. Abraham was called “the friend of God”:
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
How do you become a friend of God? You accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and develop personal relationship with Him through prayer, praise and worship, the Word of God, and doing His will. You will never fulfill your purpose in life--you will never reach your divine destiny--until you are living in covenant relationship with God.
After God gave the powerful promises of this covenant to Abraham, He commanded that the agreement be confirmed by the shedding of blood. Abraham was commanded to circumcise himself and all the males in his household. This was a sign of the covenant relationship between God and the nation of Israel (Genesis 17:10-14).
So what does circumcision represent to believers today? As people called and ordained by God, desiring to walk in the provisions of His promises, we must bear the marks of change upon our lives. As New Testament believers, we no longer circumcise the flesh, but we are circumcised in heart:
In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts).[Thus you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead. And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions, Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross. (Colossians 2:11-12, AMP)
Our circumcision is spiritual, of the heart instead of the flesh. It results in external signs, however, just as the men of Israel had visible evidence of circumcision in their flesh. Are the signs of spiritual circumcision evident in your life?
BLESSED TO BLESS
The covenant promises made by God to Abraham are not for everyone. They are only for those who have entered into the blood covenant with Jesus Christ by accepting His sacrifice for their sin. It is for those who have allowed God to circumcise their hearts and who bear the marks of change upon their lives. The promises are for those who obey God’s directives to step out by faith and claim His promises.
What is the covenant of Abraham of which we are heirs? They are promises that will enable us, like Israel, to reach our spiritual destiny. In Genesis 12:1-7, God promised Abraham that he would give him a land, make him a great nation, make his name great, bless him, and make him a blessing to others. God also promised to bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him. How does this apply to your life? God has promised to bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. When people rise up against you, you won’t need to defend yourself. God will deal with your enemies because you are walking in the provisions of this covenant. God has a spiritual “land”–a divine destiny for you. He has a specific plan for you, an expected end: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (Jeremiah 29:11). God wants to bless you so that through you, the nations (families) of the earth will be blessed. You are blessed in order to be a blessing.
In Genesis 13:15-17, God promised Abraham that the land–his inheritance from God–would be his forever and that he would pass this blessing on to his seed. While this has a specific application to the nation of Israel, it also applies to believers today. The inheritance God has given you is eternal, without end. No exclusions. No disclaimers.
Had Israel really comprehended the meaning of this covenant, they never would have turned back from entering their Promised Land.
God also promised Abraham that his heirs would be as the dust of the earth. Even if you are barren and without natural children, God wants to birth through you a spiritual seed that will reproduce throughout the nations. God declares over you:
Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. (Isaiah 54:1-3)
Like Israel, God has blessed you so that you can bless a lost and dying world. What are you doing today to bless others? Is your life impacting the nations?
NO SMALL THINKING
In order to embrace God's promises, you will need to enlarge your spiritual borders (Isaiah 54:1-3). You must put aside small thinking, because the blessing God is about to pour out on you will not fit within the parameters of your natural reasoning.
This blessing will not be poured into the old vessels of tradition. It will not be limited by the parameters of your present life. You will break forth on the right hand and the left. You will inherit the Gentiles (the nations). You will march into the desolation of sinful cities, violent slums, dangerous prisons, and drug houses to deliver people from the very gates of Hell. This is your divine destiny!
God commanded Abraham to walk through the land and declared that He would give it to him. Applied to us spiritually, this means we can walk through “the land” of our households and claim our children for God. We can walk through the desolation of our cities and nations, knowing God has given this territory into our hands spiritually.
There was a widow lady in Old Testament times who was in deep debt. She owed so much money to her creditors that they were about to seize her sons to serve as indentured servants to pay off the obligations (2 Kings 4).
The prophet of God told this woman to obtain as many empty vessels as possible from her friends, family, and neighbors. Then he told her to use the little oil she had and fill the vessels. She obeyed, and as she poured into the empty pots, the oil was multiplied. The oil continued to multiply as long as there was an empty receptacle. The miracle was only limited by what she had room to receive.
If you are to reach your destiny, you must put aside small thinking. Open your heart and mind to an unlimited God with unlimited resources that He longs to bestow upon you. Everywhere Abraham set his foot, God gave it to him. He will do the same for you spiritually.
Get rid of the limits you have placed on God. He is not limited--except by your small thinking. Your destiny is bigger than you think. God has greater plans for you than you can imagine.
Rise up today in the spirit world. Walk through “the land” of your household, your ministry, your community, and your nation. As an heir of the Abrahamic covenant, God has declared: “I will give it unto you!” Claim it in the name of Jesus. Get rid of your small thinking.
The journey to your destiny will not be an easy trip. That is why you need protection. One of the promises God gave Abraham in Genesis 15:1-21 was, "I am thy shield.” This is one of the most powerful declarations of the covenant: God is your shield!
-This shield is your salvation: “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation...” (Psalm 18:35).
-This shield lifts you up from despondency and discouragement: “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head” (Psalms 3:3).
-This shield surrounds you with favor: “For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield” (Psalms 5:12).
-This shield is your strength and joy: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him” (Psalms 28:7).
-This shield is your help in every situation: “Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).
-This shield provides grace, glory, and all good things: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).
-This shield of truth is your protection: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee” (Psalm 91:4-7).
-This shield of faith enables you to stop the enemy in his tracks: “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16).
This one promise, “I am thy shield,” encompasses every need in your life. It lifts you from the despondency of painful experiences. It protects you from evil and enables you to stop the enemy in his tracks.
God is your shield. No attack of the enemy against you will be successful as long as you are obedient to His Word. You will reach your destiny intact!
YOUR GREAT REWARD
God told Abraham, "I am your shield." He also told Him, “I am thy exceedingly great reward.” This promise includes both spiritual and material blessings. Abraham was not only blessed spiritually by his relationship with God and through his ministry to the nations, but he was also blessed materially. He possessed great wealth, as did his immediate heirs, Isaac and Jacob.
God blessed Abraham materially because He knew that Abraham would use his wealth wisely for the extension of God’s purposes. He knew that he would honor God with the tithe of his increase (Genesis 14:18-20).
God wants to give you both spiritual and material blessings. God is the one who gives you the power to get wealth, declaring:
...thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. (Deuteronomy 8:18)
The power to get wealth is part of the Abrahamic covenant. As you will learn later this year in the devotional readings, God gives you the power to secure what you need for yourself, your family, and your ministry. Cast aside “welfare mentality” and reject all negative thinking regarding your finances. You have an inheritance!
God blessed Abraham because He knew Abraham would use his resources wisely to extend God’s purposes. If you will put the Kingdom of God first in your finances, you will be blessed: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). The financial blessings of the covenant are released when you give liberally of your resources to God:
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:8-12)
When Israel gave their tithes and offerings, they were blessed. When they did not give, they were cursed. Do you want to live under a curse or a blessing? Is God your great reward, or is your focus on material possessions?
LIVING LONG ENOUGH
In Genesis 15:15, God promised Abraham "...thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age” (Genesis 15:15). He promised Abraham long life, followed by eternal life with his ancestors who had passed on.
Now God is not promising that you will live as long as Abraham, but He is declaring that you will live to a “good old age” spiritually--meaning that you will live long enough to accomplish your destiny.
You may ask, “But what about those who die young?” When we live under the Abrahamic covenant, we will live long enough to fulfill our God-given destinies. For some, that will be sooner than others.
One tremendous example of this is the story of five missionaries martyred by the Auca Indians in Ecuador years ago. When they died, they were young in terms of chronological age, but these men lived long enough to fulfill their destinies. They opened the way for the gospel to reach these tribal people.
Even today, their legacy lives on through books and films like “Through Gates Of Splendor” and “The End Of The Spear” and in the lives of the Auca believers. The story of their sacrifice has resulted in multitudes responding to the call of God to the mission field over the years. These men, although they died young, lived long enough to accomplish their destinies.
In the provision given to Abraham, God also guarantees eternal life--that we will be "gathered to our fathers”, the saints of God who have preceded us in death:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
You will live long enough on earth to accomplish your destiny and you will live forever in eternity, your ultimate destiny.
A NAME CHANGE
Genesis 17:1-22, records that as part of the covenant, God changed Abram's name to Abraham, meaning “father of a great multitude”. God also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah meaning “princess of a multitude.”
Often in Bible times, new names were bestowed to reflect a changed nature. In Old Testament times God changed Jacob’s name to Israel and in the New Testament Saul’s name was changed to Paul.
How do these name-change promises apply to you spiritually? God wants to take your old sin nature, your past, and your failures and make everything new:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The new name that God wants to give you will attract the Gentiles (the nations) because they will see a difference in your life:
And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.
What is the new name by which you are to be called?
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)
God’s name rests upon you. You are called a Christian: “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). You are no longer a servant of sin. You have a new name!
You bear the name of Jesus Christ upon your life. Walk worthy of that name! Paul admonishes us to “...walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12).
You are called by Christ's name. Are the plans you have made for this day worthy of His name?
God declared that Abraham's seed would be multiplied, that he would be exceedingly fruitful, and that he would be the father of nations (Genesis 17:1-22).
God promised Abraham that Sarah--who was beyond child-bearing years--would bear a son. Abraham was 90 years old when he received this promise! This was an unnatural, seemingly impossible promise. God's Word to you includes amazing promises. Believe God for great things--even for the impossible!
God told Abraham that from his own loins would come a son with whom the covenant would be established. While God would bless his son, Ishmael, and make a great nation of him, it was Isaac and his seed who would receive the covenant promises. How does this part of the covenant apply to you spiritually? Let’s trace the story...
Initially after receiving the promise of a son, Abraham tried to bring forth this covenant blessing through self-effort. Ishmael was born of a servant girl named Hagaar. with whom Abraham had relations. Abraham knew God wanted to make him the father of a great nation and it seemed impossible that an heir could come through his elderly and barren wife, Sarah. So Abraham took matters into his own hands and Ishmael was born.
But whose power was behind Ishmael, that of Abraham or that of God? Was the attempted fulfillment of the promised blessing man-made or God-made? Was it birthed by the flesh or by the Spirit? Ishmael represents your attempts to achieve God’s blessings. You can bring an "Ishmael" on the scene any time through your own efforts, but an "Isaac" must be birthed by God in His timing.
Who is the source of your blessings? Who is the source of your spiritual vision? Who is the source of your ministry? Is your vision a useless striving of the flesh to attain power and fame, or is it birthed by the Spirit of God? It is time for “Isaac” to be birthed in your spirit and in order for this to happen, “Ishmael”–the flesh–must be cast out. God told Abraham that Isaac, the son of the Spirit, could not abide in the same house with Ishmael, the son of the flesh.
God is saying to you as He did to Abraham: "Grieve not for Ishmael [self-effort], for in Isaac shall your seed be called." The fulfillment of divine destiny comes by the Spirit of God, not by the works of your flesh. Put aside all self-effort, your plans, your ambitions, and your preconceived ideas.
"Ishmael", birthed by your flesh, must be cast out so that your spiritual "Isaac" can flourish.
AN EVERLASTING COVENANT
Paul compared the Old Covenant to Abraham's son, Ishmael, because it was dependent upon the flesh. He compared the New Covenant to Isaac because it is based upon faith and the quickening power of the Holy Spirit:
For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants...Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise...So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. (Galatians 4, portions of verses 22-24,28,31)
God told Abraham that his promised seed would come through Isaac. We are children of promise because we are the spiritual seed of Abraham and Isaac, birthed by the Spirit and not by the flesh.
God gave Abraham the title deed to the land of Israel forever (Genesis 17:8). Oh, if Israel had only comprehended this promise! They never would have halted at the border of their Promised Land. They would not have feared, doubted, or been turned back to wilderness wandering. The land was to be theirs forever!
While there is prophetic meaning in this promise to Israel, there is also a spiritual application to believers. In Genesis 13:17, God commanded Abraham to “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.” God is saying to us, “Don’t limit me! Get up, walk through your spiritual inheritance–the length and breadth of it. I have given it to you!”
One of the most powerful declarations in this passage is that this covenant was established between God, Abraham, and his seed as an everlasting covenant:
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. (Genesis 17:7)
God declared that He would “...be a God unto thee, and unto thy seed after thee.” This is an everlasting covenant--meaning the covenant did not end with the death of Abraham. It did not cease with the death of Isaac. It was not voided when Jacob passed on. In fact, it was repeatedly reconfirmed down through the years. It is an eternal covenant, confirmed finally--once and for all--by the blood of Jesus Christ.
God's promises didn't die with Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. They are extended to you through Jesus Christ. Rise up spiritually and walk through the land of your destiny. God has given it to you!
POSSESSING THE GATES
In Genesis 22:17, God promised Abraham, "...thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies..." In Old Testament times, cities had walls built around them for protection and the gate was the entrance into the city. To "possess the gate of an enemy" meant that you had conquered them.
God is raising up believers who will embrace this promise. Like Abraham, they will forsake all for the sake of God’s call. They will be mighty warriors who will possess the gates of the enemy. The men and women God is raising up in this end-time are not weak, anemic believers. They are not people who must be nursed along and coddled spiritually. They are spiritual warriors going forth to take kingdoms and nations for God. They are embracing and living out the promises of the Abrahamic covenant.
This is what God wants to do through you, your life, and your ministry. Fathers and mothers, claim this for your children. Pastors, claim this for your church members. Ministers, claim this for your followers. Teachers, declare this over your students: Your seed will multiply, possess the gates of the enemy, and bless the nations of the earth.
God sealed the provisions of this divine covenant by His own oath, saying, "By Myself have I sworn..." (Genesis 22:16). In referring to God’s covenant promises, the Apostle Paul declared:
For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast... (Hebrews 6:13-16)
There is no one greater than God, so He swore by Himself that this covenant would be fulfilled. He also sealed these promises with an oath. You can trust God’s promises because they are sealed by His sacred oath. He swears by them, and it is absolutely impossible for God to lie. Receive these promises as they are--the truth!
GOD'S IMMUTABLE WORD
God sealed the provisions of His covenant with Abraham by His own oath, saying, "By Myself have I sworn..." (Genesis 22:16). There is no one greater than God, so God swore by Himself that this covenant would be fulfilled. He also sealed these promises with an oath. The scriptures confirm that...
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)
God provided two immutable proofs to end all doubt and uncertainty regarding His promises. They provide a sure and steadfast anchor for your soul, no matter what your circumstances, problems, or challenges.
The synonyms for the word “immutable” are “abiding, changeless, consistent, constant, enduring, ceaseless, continual, endless, permanent, stable, unchanging, unalterable, and eternal.” Is that secure enough for you?
Concerning His Word, God declared:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void , but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
If you want to reach your destiny, base your life and ministry on the Word of God. God told Joshua:
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
God's Word will not fail. If you want a successful ministry, base it on the Word of God--not a political position, not a moral issue--but on God's Word.
In so doing, you will accomplish His purposes. You will change the lives of men and women and entire nations. You will prosper in all you do and you will fulfill your divine destiny.
God has sworn by Himself and sealed His Word with an oath. His promises will be fulfilled.
DON’T BE SHUT OUT
Impossible! Amazing! Awesome! These are the terms that describe the covenant promises of Abraham that we have examined during the past weeks. And these promises are yours through Jesus Christ! But remember–just like an heir in the natural world must lay claim to their inheritance--these tremendous promises are only yours if you take possession of them.
As you will learn during the coming months, one major reason Israel was shut out of their Promised Land because of unbelief. At Kadesh-Barnea, God directed Israel to advance and take possession of the land that was promised through the Abrahamic covenant. Caleb and Joshua encouraged them to do so, but when the Israelites heard the negative report of ten of the twelve spies, their hearts were filled with unbelief (Numbers 13:30-33).
Israel refused to believe Caleb and Joshua. They listened to the negative reports of the other spies which shattered their faith. They did not believe they could conquer the land. They refused to believe the promises of God. Hebrews 3:19 declares that “...they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Israel had all of the covenant promises of Abraham. They had a scriptural foundation to claim their land, but unbelief shut them out.
Why are the promises of the Abrahamic covenant not being manifested in the lives of many believers? Because of unbelief. They don’t believe these promises are for them. We have studied the tremendous promises given to Abraham and learned how they are passed down to us, but if we do not believe and act upon this revelation, we will fail to receive it. Just as unbelief shut an entire generation out of the promised land, it will keep you from taking possession of these promises. Unbelief shuts off the supernatural life flow of God.
One of the saddest examples of people shut out from experiencing the mighty manifestation of God’s promises is found in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus did mighty miracles everywhere He went. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He opened blind eyes and cast out demons. Yet, when Jesus came to Nazareth, He could do no mighty works:
And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief... (Mark 6:5-6)
Jesus was not limited in Nazareth because His power or anointing had been depleted. The only thing that prevented these people from receiving the blessings of God was their own unbelief. Whatever God says, believe it! Do not let unbelief limit God’s work in your life or prevent you from receiving these promises. Do not let unbelief shut you out. If you have difficulty believing the promises of God, cry out as one distraught father did, "...Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:24).
Yesterday we talked about how unbelief will prevent you from fulfilling your destiny. In addition to unbelief, there is another powerful spiritual force that will shut you out of God’s promises. That force is the spirit of fear.
When Israel heard the negative report of the spies, they developed “Grasshopper mentality” which kept them out of the promised land. They saw the enemy as a giant and themselves as grasshoppers and they were afraid to enter in to claim their rightful possessions (Numbers 13:33).
One of the first things God said to Abraham when sharing the provisions of this covenant with him was “Fear not.” (Genesis 15:1). God knew that these promises were so great that Abraham might be fearful at their very magnitude.
Fear is a spirit that Satan uses to torment, control, dominate, oppress, and bind God's people. Paul told Timothy, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Through fear and unbelief, Israel disobeyed God and failed to take possession of their inheritance. They forfeited their covenant promises and returned to wander in the wilderness for forty years. Every person twenty years of age and older died in the wilderness with the exception of Moses, Joshua, and Caleb.
Many believers do not realize that the covenant promises of Abraham belong to them. Not knowing what is legally theirs, they have forfeited their covenant rights and privileges simply because they did not claim them. Others know the terms of the covenant, but because of unbelief or fear they refuse to claim them. Both responses will shut you out of your Promised Land and abort your destiny.
What about you? Like the children of Israel, have you failed to take possession of your inheritance? Did you once arrive at the border of your destiny, only to turn back into the wilderness? No more!
Through the revelation you are receiving, you are learning what is rightfully yours. It is time for you to step across the border and claim your inheritance in Christ.
THE PURPOSE OF THE BLESSING
We have been on a powerful spiritual journey this month. We have been building a spiritual foundation for the pilgrimage to our divine destiny.
We have learned how God made an eternal, unchanging covenant with Abraham which extends down through the centuries to us today. We have explored its many provisions and learned how we can enter into it. One question remains: Why did God give us these tremendous blessings?
One reason, of course, is that God gave these promises because of His love for us, just as any good earthly father who passes on an inheritance to his sons and daughters.
Jesus declared, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Jesus wants you to have an abundant life. He came to this earth to impart new life, a spiritual life filled with blessings and privileges--including eternal life. All that is good in your life comes from Him:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
But there is a purpose much larger than simply enjoying these blessings. The divine purpose is clear: God blessed Abraham so that through him, the nations of the world would be blessed.
God extended the provisions of this powerful covenant down through the centuries to you so that you would be empowered to bless the world by fulfilling the great commission:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Why--through these promises--does God pledge supernatural success? Why does He promise good things to you? Why does He declare He will be your shield and place provisions into your hands? Why does God want to bless you so much? The reason is that, like Abraham and his descendants, you have a divine destiny. You are blessed in order to be a blessing to the world. That is your covenant purpose.
YOUR SPIRITUAL VISION
Jesus told His disciples to lift up their eyes and look at the natural fields of grain that were ready to harvest (John 4:35). He used these fields as an example of the spiritual fields of multitudes of men and women around the world who are ready to be harvested for the Kingdom of God.
While standing in the middle of visible natural harvest fields that day, the disciples experienced the birth of a spiritual vision. They received the mandate for their divine destiny. It is the same vision Jesus wants to birth in your spirit. He wants to give you a vision of the spiritual harvest fields of the world which are ready to be reaped for His Kingdom. When you recognize the importance of that vision and understand your responsibility in fulfilling it, your life will never again be the same. Jesus clearly stated: "The field is the world..." (Matthew 13:38). Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, South America, Europe, the Islands of the sea--the harvest fields of the world are ripe with multitudes who have yet to hear the good news of the Kingdom of God. The vision has not changed. It is the same as it was when Jesus birthed it in the lives of His disciples. The will of God is the same because the work of God is not finished. There are untold millions yet untold. The vision is still the harvest fields of the world.
When Jesus spoke to His followers about the spiritual harvest, He outlined five steps--recorded in John 4:35--that would enable them to receive the vision. Today and tomorrow, we will meditate on these steps, as they are important in regards to your divine destiny. If your call, your purpose, your perceived destiny is of God, it will somehow relate to the harvest.
Step one: "Say not ye..." Many believers spend their entire lives talking about the harvest. They are like a labor crew trying to gather a harvest while sitting in a barn. They go to the barn (the church) each Sunday morning and study bigger and better methods of agriculture (for spiritual harvest). They sharpen their harvesting sickles--so to speak--and then go home. They come back that night to study better methods of agriculture, sharpen their sickles, and go home again. They do this week after week until the weeks turn into months and months into years, yet nobody ever goes out into the fields to gather the harvest. When Jesus said, "Say not ye" He meant that talking about spiritual harvest was not enough. You must become involved in the actual harvesting process. That does not mean everyone is to leave their jobs, seek financial support from the church, and travel to other nations as preachers of the Gospel. But each believer is to be involved in some way in the spiritual harvest. For some, it will be the fields that are right outside the doors of their home and church. For others, the harvest will be a foreign field. The point is that each believer is to be participating in and not just talking about the harvest.
How does what you perceive to be your divine destiny relate to spiritual harvest? Are you just talking about the harvest or are you reaping it right now, right where you are?
THE HARVEST-TIME VISION
The spiritual harvest-field of the world is the divine destiny to which believers are called. For some, that field is right where they are--their neighborhood, their job, their school, or their sphere of influence. For others, the harvest will be in a foreign land. Wherever our harvest field is, we learned yesterday that we cannot just talk about it. Here are four more steps to make the vision of the harvest a reality in your life.
Step two: "Yet four months.” In order to become part of this harvest-time vision you cannot delay it. You cannot wait until some future time to become involved. Souls are dying in sin right now.
Step three: "I say unto you." God's ways are different from those of man:
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Men talk about spiritual harvest. They delay it. But what God says is different than what man says. He says...
Step four: "Lift up your eyes." You must lift up your spiritual eyes from the distractions of life. You must lift them from your personal problems, from discouragement, from business and worldly concerns. You must lift your eyes from the circumstances of life to...
Step five: "Look on the harvest.” Turning your eyes from distractions to the harvest field is not enough. You must really look at the harvest. You must see the world through the eyes of God.
Many do not have spiritual vision because they have not really looked at the world spiritually. They have not recognized their personal responsibility to reap the harvest. They have not considered the conditions of the harvest-fields of our world today.
Israel was about to reap a mighty harvest when the enemy Midianites attacked to seize and destroy their crops (Joshua 6). Do not let the enemy steal that which God intended to be your destiny. Do not let the enemy destroy the vision of spiritual harvest to which you are called and destined.
Abraham had a divine destiny that involved the birth of nations. The nation of Israel had a divine destiny to represent God to the nations. You have a divine destiny in the harvest fields of the world. Do not delay. Do not just talk about what you are going to do for God someday. Begin to fulfill your destiny as a spiritual harvester right now--today.