Leaving the Land

It's hard to stay in places you no longer want to be. The city you are in. The job you work at. The house you live in. The relationship you are in or wish you had. A season of life. The uncertainty of life. We are all longing...longing for more. 

There is a time to leave and there are times to remain. God called Abram and Moses to leave. God called the apostles to scatter. But sometimes God calls us to remain in the places He has placed us.

Leaving the land that was intended for you displaces you. Vagabonding through dangerous waves you once desired to conquer, finding yourself lost at sea. 

The nation of Israel was really no different from you and I. Disbelieving, disobedient, wandering, forgetful complainers. Unfaithful, yet He remained Faithful and True. And the Lord had great plans and purpose for them. For you and I.  

As I got to walk the pages in Israel in January, Tel Dan, in the norther region, was a site that particularly engraved the picture and call to remain faithful to the Lord and the conquence of neglecting His calling and placement.

God had alloted the 12 tribes of Israel specific portions of the land to occupy, cultivate, and defend. With purpose. As much of this land for the 12 tribes was in a desert area, I can imagine the hesitation/disappointment as they pictured occupying the land they and their forefathers had been wandering in for 40 years, holding out to get to this lush promise land. This land wasn't necessarily all lush in the greenry we may picture, or what they had pictured. Ten tribes ended up heading north, following Jeroboam's rebellion breaking away from the remaining two in the south under Reoboam, David's son. 

The tribe of Dan, part of the 10 northern tribes of Israel that followed Jeroboam, moved North because the land looked better than the land the Lord had allotted for them. Jeroboam was setting up a self-promoting kingdom, pulling these 10 tribes from remaining in unity with the others as God intended; to gather corporately, edify, share, learn, and serve. 

After the ten tribes moved north, the Assyrians came through that part of Israel and destroyed them, taking them captive in 722 BC. The Lord places us intentionally for growth, santification, protection, His Kingdom work, reliance on Him; moving away from His chosen places, I miss out on all of that.

Leaving the land intended for me I leave the Lord's intended provision, protection, and purpose. This resonates deeply with me as I am always processing and praying what and where the Lord would have me. Restless in many areas. Trusting in many ways. I do not want to leave the places He intends for me even when something else may be seem more appealing.

The land elsewhere may look more appealing but will prove disappointing, unfulfilling when it's not what/where God has for you. 

I know many, including myself, are in this "in between" season and sit in a restless state. But how long do we stay in this state? When does this restlessness or longing point to the Lord's leading for something different?

"Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him...Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called." 1 Corinthians 7:17,20

Consider your motives. Your peace. Your giftings, passions and callings. Is and can God use you right where you are? Remain until you can do nothing else but that desire/calling deeply planted in you, if it is something/somewhere else. I do wonder if it's more dangerous to step out to something the Lord is not in nor calling you to, or remaining stagnant in the places God has placed you. 

"If Your presence will not go with me, do not bring us from here." Exodus 33:15 

"The heart of man plans his ways, but the Lord establishes his steps." Proverbs 16:9 

"The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when He delights in his way." Psalm 37:23

Trusting in and remaining under God's soverignty is what He intends for us. Even in uncertainty. 

How often I compare my "alloted" land to someone else's. God has uniquely designed and placed you. Our "allotment" could be our giftings, personality, season of life, careers, etc. 

A sense of displacement or restless may be a season the Lord is refining and growing your faith and trust in Him. 

"The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul." Deut 33:8

God gave Moses clear instructions for so many areas, but not with his role as judge, governing the people. He allowed Moses to struggle and wrestle through that until his father-in-law Jethro came to him with a word of wisdom. God did not speak to him about this like He did for other areas. Why? Allowing him, us, to wrestle with certain areas to learn to respond to and live by the Spirit. 

The tribe of Dan went north with Jeroboam and what remains of them is an altar that was worship to pagan idols/gods. We sat and considered what will be remembered of us. Will I remain faithful when it's hard or other "land" looks more appealing? 

"I want to be challenged endlessly; I want to be learning and growing every minute. I want to be taught by those I teach. I want to share God's love with people who otherwise might not know it. I want to work so hard that I end everyday filthy and too tired to move. I want to be used by the Lord. I want to make a difference and I want to follow the calling God has planted deep in my heart. I want to give me life away, to serve the Lord with each breath, each second. " Katie Davis 

The place I can best live this out is in the "land" the Lord has placed me, not leaving the land. That does not mean I cannot physically leave something, but the heart of being fully present in the things/places God has planted me with great purpose, plan, intentionality, and allowing Him to walk me in this land to cultivate what He has for me in it. I'm not afraid of God doing/moving big ways in me, I'm more afraid of Him not and missing what He would have for me. What is God calling you to? Are you willing to pack up and follow Him? Are you willing to dive in and remain where you are? I'm wrestling with this myself, pursuing His leading because I want to follow the Good Shepherd and His way of life, wherever He leads. That's where I want to be.