Camped in comfort. It’s an interesting thought and one that came to me recently as I was reading a book called A Lineage of Grace.
Written by Francine Rivers, it is a compilation of five books featuring women from the bible who had a profound impact on history through the lineage of Jesus.
It’s an old book on my shelf and its pages are worn, but as I started reading it for what may well be the third or fourth time, this new thought dropped in my spirit.
One of the books is about a Jerichoan harlot named Rahab, who aided Israelite spies that were on a mission to scout out the city of Jericho. Jericho was significant for the Israelites as it was the first fortress that they needed to overcome in their conquering and claiming of The Promise Land.
In the book I was reading, once the spies had completed their assessment of the city, Rahab helped them flee from Jerichoan guards, instructing the spies to camp in the fields around Jericho for three days to wait out the soldiers that were hunting for them. It was at this point in the book that these words, camped in comfort, dropped in to my spirit.
As the spies laid down to go to sleep, one of them commented on the beautiful grass beneath him and how excited he was to see the Israelites advance on Jericho in their campaign to claim The Promise Land.
This scenario sparked a question for me: imagine if the Israelites had of stopped at Jericho?
The battle of Jericho was an incredible victory for the Israelites in the bible. God instructed the Israelite army to march around the ‘impenetrable’ fortress of Jericho once a day for six days. Then, on the seventh day, the Israelite army marched around the walls seven times, in silence. At the end of the seventh lap, the Israelite leader, Joshua, instructed them to shout out a war cry, at which point the walls came tumbling down.
“So the people shouted, and they blew the trumpets. When the people heard the trumpet sound, they shouted a loud battle cry, and the wall fell down.” (Joshua 6:20 MEV).
You can read the story of the Israelite’s victory over Jericho in Joshua chapter 6.
Here’s my point (sorry, I just needed to lay the foundations for those new to the page): it was a great victory and Jericho was a beautiful land. Historians say it was rich with natural irrigation, palm trees and crops. The Israelites could have easily decided that after years of wandering in the wilderness, they’d just stay in the land of Jericho and set up camp.
Get it? They could have just camped in comfort, right there in the land of Jericho.
They had everything they needed.
Yes, I’m sure enemies and armies would have tried to come against them as was typical of the land in ancient times. But Jericho was in an advantageous and protectable position. The Israelite army could have defended it and enjoyed the prosperity of the land.
They could have stayed there and lived comfortably.
But had they done that, they would have missed out on the fullness of the promise that God had for them. They would have only occupied the smallest portion of the glorious Promise Land.
WHAT IS THE PROMISE LAND?
Let me share with you a visual of the Promise Land to help you gauge the scale of what awaited the Israelites after they conquered Jericho.
This is a map of the promise land as theologians believe it to be based on what’s written in scripture.
Can you see Jericho there in the middle, just above Jerusalem?
GOD’S PROMISE TO US TODAY
It’s so easy for us to look at this birds-eye map and think, of course the Israelites were going to move on to claim the entire Promise land. That’s what God promised them over 600 years beforehand when he told Abraham:
“To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great Euphrates River…” (Genesis 15:18 MEV)
But I wonder, I just wonder, if there were some in the Israelite army that had the same thought as me: can’t we just stay here? It’s nice. It’s green. It’s fertile. It’s safe. It’s comfortable.
Can’t we just camp in comfort? We’ve been on a hard road since we left Egypt forty years ago. We’ve earned the right to rest. This place will suffice.
I know I’m playing with a hypothetical here. But this thought challenged me for this reason: it prompted me to ask myself a hard question, ‘Where in my life am I camping in comfort?’
Are there areas in my life where I am occupying only a small portion of what God has for me?
Are there areas of my life where I’ve settled for less than the fullness of what God has for me?
For less than the magnificent promises that God has made to me in the bible?
The promise that God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3 is the same promise that he makes to you and to me today.
God said to Abram: “I will make of you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless them who bless you and curse him who curses you, and in you all families for the earth will be blessed.”
This is a promise of blessing, life, prosperity and hope.
Are there areas in my life where I am settling for less than this promise? Am I camping in comfort.
I know my answer. What’s yours?
That’s why I’ve written this blog – to ask you this same question.
Are you camping in comfort somewhere in your life?
Somewhere along the line, have you settled for less than the fullness that God has for you?
Perhaps it is relational – are you settling for a group of friends that talk down to you, leave you out and/or don’t encourage you?
Are you in a relationship with someone who isn’t the right fit but you’re sticking it out anyway because you’re worried someone else won’t come along?
Perhaps it’s physical – are you unwell in your body or mind but you’re convinced that is how you’ll always be? Nothing can be done? You’ve resolved to just live with it?
It could be financial – you’ve got some credit card debt or a car loan and you just figure debt is a standard part of life.
These are all examples of camping in comfort and not pressing in to the fullness that God has for you. Selling yourself short. Settling for less than the promise.
My encouragement is this friend: pursue your Promise Land.
God had more for the Israelites than just Jericho. He had an entire Promised Land!
Similarly, for you, He has more than what you’re settling for.
Cross check your comfort camp with God’s great promises on your life. Where you find areas that don’t align with God’s promises for you in the Word [bible], pack up your tent and get ready to pursue the promises of God for that area of your life.
What does it mean to pursue the promises of God? We’ll talk about that in next week’s blog.
In the meantime, start packing up your tent.