No Promised Land without God

“Go up to the land I swore to give to Abraham … And I will send an angel before you … Go up to this land that flows with milk and honey.But I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people. … If I were to travel with you for even a moment, I would destroy you” … Moses said to the Lord… “Let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor … If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place”… The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”—Exodus 33:1-17, NLT

In essence, the LORD told Moses, “I will be faithful to the promise of land that I made to Abraham and his descendents, and I will keep my promise. You can possess the land. My angel will guide you and fight for you. But I will not go with you because I can’t put up with your sins.” Moses responded that he didn’t want the Promised Land without knowing the LORD more, understanding his ways and enjoying his presence.

God loves humanity and has given us the whole earth, with all its riches and blessings. God has given us air, water, food, friendship, intelligence, a sense of purpose, a beautiful environment, and much more. Nevertheless, if human beings do not want to walk with the God of the Way, God will let them go it alone. Many immigrants only want to have prosperity and the blesssings of life without worrying about God, and God obliges no one to follow. Everyone has freedom to search for what he or she really wants. If riches, riches. If pleasures, pleasures. But some desire God so much that they would opt to walk up a via dolorosa with the LORD rather than walk down luxurious roads without him. They don’t want blessings; they want the LORD of the Blessings.

God’s immigrants agree with Moses: “Let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor.” They won’t take a single step if God won’t go with them. If you will surrender yourself to God’s guidance and let God reign in your life, you can be sure that the LORD looks on you with favor and knows you by name.

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.  All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is president of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington.  He is the author of The New Pilgrims:  How Immigrants are Renewing America’s Faith (forthcoming in August 2015, Worthy Publishing). Follow him on Twitter @DrCastleberry and at


Acerca de Joseph Castleberry

A missionary to Latin America for 20 years, I currently serve as president of Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. I am the author of Your Deepest Dream (NavPress, 2012); The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus (Influence Resources, 2013), and The New Pilgrims: How Immigrants are Renewing America's Faith and Values.
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