Friday, January 1, 2016

Deuteronomy 2:3-5 -- On Choosing to be Chosen

"Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.
And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore:
Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession."
Deuteronomy 2:3-5

I like the idea that God tells the people to move after they have stayed in one place for a while.  He could have taken them directly there, but he didn't.  I think the same thing happens to us.  We don't always get where we want to go right away, even with God leading us.  Sometimes it is because we aren't ready.  Sometimes it is because we aren't supposed to go there, and God is giving us the time to realize that.  Other times the timing is just off.  And God knows the timing perfectly.
I also like the idea of the promised land being one of many.  The people had to go peacefully through some of the lands on the way to theirs because those lands had been promised to others.  God loves all people, and in order for us to learn that kind of community and universal love that God is trying to teach us, we have to learn that God loves the people next door just as much as he loves us.  And next door to everything.  A lot of times instead of wanting equality we actually want preferential treatment.  And it is a hard lesson sometimes that we don't have to raise ourselves up at the cost of others, and that we lose nothing when others win.  We enjoy feeling special and chosen and singled out for something great.  ... And the thing is, we are, or we can be.  It's just in a way that works for everyone without detracting from the immensity of the favor bestowed upon us. 
We read the scriptures, and what do we learn from them?  We learn that to be chosen, we have to choose God.  To be called, we have to have the desire and the willingness to serve.  We learn that for God to grant us a promised land, we also have to make a promise to God.  We learn that one person, focused and dedicated to God, can change the entire world.  That worth and belonging and king-of-the-world feeling that we think we want... it doesn't come from winning, or being richer or more fortunate than someone else.  It comes from God.  From his love.  We are choosing every day whether to be called and chosen and singled out for greatness.  It doesn't diminish us if someone else makes the same choices... in fact, it helps us and strengthens our community of people trying to make things better.
Today, let's choose to be chosen. :)  Let's join God's team and do his will, making ourselves and this world better.  Let's leave the timing to God, and work towards our promised land, respecting the promised lands of others, and joining with whoever else also chooses to be chosen.

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