Deuteronomy is Moses’ last sermon to the Israelites as they prepare to enter the promised land. These are the children of those who came out of Egypt. While they know many things about God’s work to bring them out of bondage, there are still a few things that Moses wants to tell them.
It would be easy to paint a picture of heaven as being our promised land. But that would be wrong. Don’t let your favorite southern gospel song fool you: It’s not about a mansion on the golden street, or even a cabin in the corner of glory-land. It’s not about just hanging on until we die and go to heaven, as though God will allow “being good” as a substitute for following his commands to make disciples and feed the hungry. Those songs are lots of fun to sing, but the theology in them is bad. God is less concerned with the sweet bye-and-bye than we are. We’re going to have to change the way we think about all that, because we’ve confused ourselves and each other for far too long. Our promised land isn’t heaven, but the Kingdom of God. Jesus tells us it’s so close we can reach out and touch it.
Is more of your time spent singing and dreaming about heaven, or actively following Jesus? Do you find yourself thinking in terms of making it to heaven someday, or making heaven happen here and now? Take a few moments to pray about this. You may find the following prayer helpful:
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.