“And I pleaded with the LORD at that time, saying, ‘O Lord GOD, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’ But the LORD was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.'” (Deuteronomy 3:23–28)
Most people experience some form of what Moses experienced at the Canaanite border.
For many hard decades, he had invested his life in leading the nation of Israel toward the land that God had promised Abraham (Gen. 12:7). However, as God would have it, Moses would never set foot on Canaanite soil. That privilege would be left to Joshua. Of course, this is a source of tension for Moses, an unfulfilled desire that had been nagging him ever since the incident at the waters of Meribah (Num. 20:12). Even though Moses “pleaded with the Lord” to reconsider, his admission into the Promised Land would not be granted.
This episode in Moses’s life beckons an important question for yours and mine: What should we do with our unfulfilled longings—those sources of tension that have lingered in our lives, haunting us for too long?
In truth, our culture does not at all equip us to face such a question. One author explains this shortcoming, “We stand before life too full of expectations that cannot be realized… we are convinced that all lack, all tension, all unfulfilled yearning is tragic.” It is true that people in our society generally feel this way. Whether it pertains to romance and sexuality, career, finances, or parenting, many assume that to live with unmet expectations is an insufferable misery that must be resolved immediately.
However, the Bible instructs us much differently. It shows us how our lasting longings can have value for God’s purpose.
While we are fixated on what we don’t have, God’s focus is on what we are becoming.
This is what happened to Moses as he ascended Pisgah. Silenced by divine rebuke, he stopped talking to God about Canaan and started listening to what God had to say about it. God’s Word on the matter would cause Moses to be consumed with one burning passion for the rest of days—to see God’s people love, worship, and obey Him (Deut. 4-32). His unfulfilled desires, far from being a tragedy, culminated in blessing (Deut. 33).
Moses never got what he wanted, but he became what God wanted, which is infinitely better. Perhaps God wants to do something similar with our unfulfilled desires. Maybe that’s why He’s not answering your prayers the way you’d like. Could it be that He wants to use the tension you feel to prepare you for His purpose in a specific way? Is it possible that He wants you to become something that will make a difference in someone else’s life?
As you gather with LifePoint this Sunday, bring your longings into God’s presence and find out what they’re really for. God wants to speak to you about this; His Word will counsel and instruct you. Are you listening? If so, you will find, as Moses did, that your unfulfilled desires are indeed a blessing, not a tragedy.
PRAYER AND REFLECTION
- What unfulfilled desire has God allowed to linger in your life? Maybe you feel like He’s holding out on you. How might that “hold-out” be understood in light of Moses’s experience at the Canaanite border? How might it serve God’s purpose? Prayerfully surrender to Him. Ask Him to use your life as He wills, even if it is uncomfortable for you.
- Are you expecting God to address a specific area of your life this Sunday? Pray that His Word would be powerful and effective among the church. Pray that LifePoint would be receptive and responsive to all that God wants to say and do among us.
Set List for Sunday, September 01, 2019
- The Passion (B. Ligertwood, S. Ligertwood, S. Davenport)
- Great Are You Lord (J. Ingram, L. Jordan, D. Leonard)
- You Never Change (M. Dawes, A. Ivey, J. Reeves)
- Another in the Fire (C. Davenport, J. Houston)
- More Like Jesus (B. Ligertwood, S. Ligertwood, K. Stanfill, B. Younker)