Thursday: Psalms 108-110, Genesis 44, Matthew 3

From Dave Friedrich

Adjusting our Expectations

When we trust God to fulfill His promise in our lives what should we expect?  

When the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt God promised to free them and take them to the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey. But before they got there they had to go through the wilderness, a place of dust and deprivation. In other words, the Israelites had to experience the opposite of the promise before they entered the promise.

In our gospel reading John is preaching in the wilderness and baptizing in the Jordan river, the same river the people of Israel crossed during the Exodus when they finally left Egypt and the wilderness behind them and entered the promised land set before them. John's baptism of water was preparing the way for the Lord and His new baptism of "the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matt 3:11), a New Exodus out of the slavery of sin and death and on into life with the promised Holy Spirit. But before the abundance of the promise there remains a wilderness.    

When Jesus was baptized the Spirit descended and rested on Him and then led Him into the wilderness where he was deprived of food and tempted by the devil. Even with Jesus the wilderness comes first. And more than that, before the resurrection He endures the cross.  

So if we are trusting God for abundant life in the Spirit, for Jesus to baptize and keep filling us with the Holy Spirit, we should not be surprised if at first we experience something of the opposite. Because before we enter "the promised land" we might find ourselves in the deprivation and temptations of the wilderness. Sometimes we must endure the opposite of the promise before we enter the promise.    

As today is Valentine's Day my wife Anna and I will soon be heading out on a date to enjoy our favorite cuisine––Thai food.