Daily devotions are something I used to be terrible at. Quite honestly, before I knew God I raged against the machine in terms of being “told what to do.” Anything forced or otherwise scheduled and I refused solely on the basis of it was not my idea. I know – talk about ego!
Thankfully, as I have aged and come to have a relationship, not with ‘religion’ but with our Creator through Jesus, I now understand that in order to become the person He created me to be, I must shed who I once was. Ego and all.
Thus, daily devotions have become a part of my personal development. They keep me grounded not only in Scripture, but in practical every day living. The Bible is pretty great at that – trust me. When all else fails, when you feel out of control, pick it up and read any one of the sixty-six books contained therein. You will find hope. You will find freedom. You will find out just how much you are loved.
“For the land that you are about to enter to occupy is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sow your seed and irrigate by foot like a vegetable garden. But that land that you are crossing over to occupy is a land of hills and valleys, watered by rain from the sky.” –Deuteronomy 11:10-11 (Full text, Deuteronomy 11:1-17).
The Israelites had been living in Egypt as slaves, but it wasn’t necessarily the hard work that was so unbearable. Work may be physically and mentally taxing, but that does not make it wrong. What made the situation in Egypt unbearable was the extreme harshness of the slavery; the Egyptian masters worked the Israelites “ruthlessly” (Exod. 1:13, 14) and made their lives “bitter.” As a result, Israel languished in “misery” and “suffering” and a “broken spirit” (Exod. 6:9). Work was turned into a misery by the harshness of oppression.
From Oppression to Freedom
And so God is assuring His people that the land that they are about to occupy is nothing like that! They are moving from a place of pure oppression to a place of pure freedom. In Egypt, the only production of a crop they had was from their own efforts. But here – in the Promise Land – the crops are abundant because of the blessings of God upon them.
Egypt was a desert land that had to be artificially watered; the land of promise is a land that God Himself waters. A gift. A green fertile land. One of hope, prosperity, and one where they could live peacefully, no longer finding themselves enslaved.
That said, as the Promise Land’s fertility depended on rain from heaven, the Israelites would not only be under greater obligation to observe the commands of God, but to learn to depend on Him wholeheartedly.
Isn’t that the hard part? Relinquishing all control in order to have total freedom?
What areas of your life are dying because you’re clinging too tightly instead of giving it over to the Master Waterer so it may instead bloom fully?
Dear Lord, may we depend on you for everything instead of going it ourselves. May we no longer unnecessarily enslave ourselves to our own ways, but rather, live in the freedom of your unending love. Amen.
- God’s Promise of Freedom – Beth Fisher Devotional on Control - April 8, 2021