22 May Preparing for Your Promised Land
Recently God brought a verse to mind that He led me to early in my walk with Him.
Acts 18:18 – “Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken.”
As a young believer, I was puzzled that God would include Paul getting a hair cut, in His Holy Word, but more confused as to what He was trying to teach me. I knew that all scripture could be used for teaching (I Timothy 3:16), so I went on a journey with God.
A good study Bible can help in many ways. Cross references – other places a topic Is mentioned in scripture – took me to the book of Numbers. Before I looked at the verses suggested, I thought it best that I know a bit about the book of Numbers. The first section contains instructions for things that the Israelites were to do in preparation for entering the Promised Land.
The chapter that I was guided to was chapter 6 and talks about the vow of the Nazirite. The person making this vow would set a time in which they would devote or consecrate themselves to God. During this time there were rules that had to be followed.
- They could eat nothing that comes from the grapevine – no wine, raisins, or even the seeds.
- They could not drink anything fermented.
- They could not be in the presence of a dead body, not even a parent.
- They could not take a razor to their head. This is the part God wanted me to see.
So, Paul had taken the vow of the Nazirite. But why? He was already on his second missionary journey. He ate, slept, and breathed Jesus. Why would God impress upon him to take such a vow?
More searching was necessary. Paul was staying in Corinth at the time. What was it about Corinth that made this vow important? So I looked up a little history on Corinth. At the time, Corinth was the commercial and political hub of Greece. On a hill overlooking the city was a great temple dedicated to the goddess of war and love, Aphrodite. It was known for its wickedness and immorality.
For the 1 ½ years Paul spent in Corinth, God impressed upon him the need for added vigilance in his walk. This is what I felt God was teaching me. He wanted to prepare me to step closer to my Promised Land from a land that was full of wickedness and immorality.
Shortly after this discovery, things started changing. Movies and books that once never bothered me now made me very uncomfortable, even sick. I had enjoyed an occasional glass of wine with dinner and now one sip set my body on fire. My journey into leadership had begun.
Over the years, God has called me from things I loved to things He has willed me to love more, as He moved me further along in my leadership journey and closer to my Promised Land.
At a Leadership Development Night last year, Pastor Daniel called members of staff to come up front to pray over leaders. I remember feeling the need to go forward, even though I had no idea what I was going to ask prayer for. The draw to go forward was so strong that I plowed over others in my row. I was forward before Pastor stopped talking and stood in front of a staff member, just waiting. She motioned me forward and I started bawling. God revealed his plan. He had asked me to love his people in Culpeper. This scared me greatly. I had lived in Culpeper for a long time years ago. I had no real desire to return and was there only because I wanted to help Lifepoint Culpeper grow. I realized I had not really made a true commitment in my mind to stay. God, however, was calling me to stay. He was drawing me closer to my Promised Land.
I want to leave you with a question. What is God doing to prepare you for your Promised Land? Will you partner with Him and go for it?