I had to laugh yesterday as I walked up the steps to our covered porch where Piper had been sitting while she observed me mowing the front lawn. There was a slight but constant wind blowing through the neighborhood and it only took one glance to realize that Piper was the unknowing recipient of that breeze as she covered head to toe with a light dusting of dirt and grass trimmings! The one good thing was that she was dry and the layer was easily brushed off. I can’t say the same for me though, as I was sweating quite profusely and had to wash the thicker layer of everything being ejected from the riding mower off my exposed arms and legs!
But you know… When I went into the house and glanced at myself in the mirror, it looked like I was a man with a purpose! I looked like I had put my hand to the plow (or riding mower in this case…) with a predetermination to mow and trim the lawn before the rains came later that afternoon. I had a plan to pursue and I went at it with gusto!
Since I do not have a grass catcher for the riding mower, I have to mow in a certain direction when I get to the side of the lawn lined with trees so as to blow the leaves into the forested area and not across our lawn. Therefore I follow a predetermined course and expect a specific result from those actions.
This example makes me think about God’s words to Joshua at the very beginning of his leadership role with the children of Israel, as described in the Old Testament book of Joshua. In chapter one verse three, Papa God starts out by encouraging Joshua saying that “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you…” (KJV) As I studied this out, I began to notice how God had chosen His words very carefully. According to the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Dictionary, the word “tread” implies the need for one to “choose to go” and/or “to lead.” An online dictionary defined it as “to step, walk, or trample so as to press, crush or injure something.”
To me that is expressing the importance of doing something with a predetermined purpose and to pursue your activities with great confidence in such a manner as to be seen as a leader with the effect of causing others to want to follow you. In other words, God didn’t say just to “walk” through the land, but to “tread” upon it!
I think that this command could be seen as a general calling to every Christian who walks the earth today! Scofield’s Reference Notes describes this as “The Law of Appropriation” for “God gives, but we must take.” So just as God “gave” Joshua and the Children of Israel the land of Canaan, but they still had to physically go into it and “take it,” we must also go out and “take” the land, the opportunities presented, the callings, the ministry and our daily lives in order to appropriate them.
I read an interesting correlation to this thought this morning from I Timothy 6:11-12 where Paul tells a young Timothy “But you, man of God: Run for your life from all this (an ungodly life, the love of money etc…). Pursue a righteous life – a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses!” (The Message) Paul knew what living a life of faith entailed. It wasn’t a life that is aimlessly walked, but one driven by and lived with a purpose, with zeal, with expectation and with wonder!
To me, this explanation makes the thought of change to be an exciting prospect in my life! Not something to fear, but something to look forward to as another opportunity to see the wonder of God and His Word working in our lives! WOW! That’s exciting… wouldn’t you agree?
This is the way Piper and I have always tried to live our lives! As I have mentioned before, we decided early on in our marriage that if God’s Word said something was possible, then we would pursue it in our lives… LIKE IT WAS SO!
Now I didn’t say that is was always an easy path to follow because you’ll always have the naysayers that will give you their two cents on the subject… but again… when push comes to shove… Whose Word should REALLY count to us? When I see words like “Wonder, Seize” and “Fervently” used to describe the Christian walk I can’t help but get excited! In fact… I just noticed how much faster I am typing on my keyboard as I write this part of the message! Whew! Glory to God! Okay… I’m a little excited! But God’s promises will do that to me every time! How about you?
It reminds me of Papa God’s promise that Piper and I make personal and confess throughout each and every day as recorded in Psalm 91:16 where He declares: “With a long life will I satisfy you, and make you to behold, to stand in awe and in wonder of my salvation which includes all my redemptive processes that Jesus has provided for you.” (An expanded translation combining the Jewish Publication Society Bible, Scofield’s Reference Notes and modern dictionary definitions of ‘Behold’)
So… what are you going to do this weekend? Walk through your daily life… or go confidently with a predetermined purpose and “tread” upon the land set before you? Have a great weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to simply walk or to ‘TREAD’ with a predetermined purpose today?”