Training for Reigning - 06 - Getting ready for Canaan

GETTING READY FOR CANAAN
HAVE YOU EVER FELT that life was useless, meaningless, and that nothing you could do was worthwhile? Some of us who have been "laid on the shelf" feel this way rather keenly at times.
Then, too, there are so many of the Lord’s people who are crying out of the depths of sorrow and perplexity, "Why, oh Lord? Oh, why did this have to happen to me?" Others seek to comfort themselves with the thought, "There must be some good reason."
If perchance the reader should be among the number who know what it means to be dismayed, frustrated, and discouraged, or grievously cast down, the message to the Hebrews of old found in Deuteronomy 8 should prove to be full of light and re-assurance, particularly v. 2; for the word in this verse might well be paraphrased:
"God has been at work in your lives."
God had wrought great things for His people in the wilderness, to which reference is made in vs. 4, 15, 16. Yet when He wishes to stress the evidence of His presence with them, and of His faithfulness and love, He calls on them to remember how He had led them:
"To humble thee, and
To prove thee,
To know what was in thine heart."
He humbled them to reduce dangerous pride - pride that could have caused them to forget God, to exalt self, to abandon dependence on Himself (vs. 11-18).
He proved them to reveal defects in their sin-spoiled characters. With such knowledge they would be enlightened in their struggle to become "overcomers." (Compare v. 5 with Hebrews 12: 10-11; Revelation 2: 1-7).
He sought also to know (to discover, to reveal) what was in their hearts. Other interests can crowd both Himself and His Word out of men’s lives. (Compare vs. 3, 11-13 with Mark 4:19; Luke 14:16-20; Luke 16:13).
Thus did the Lord show His hand at work in His people’s lives. And "why?" "To do thee good in thy latter end" (v. 16) was the answer to the riddle. In other words (vs. 7-9), He was
Getting Them Ready for Canaan
Turning now to the New Testament we learn that God is at work in our lives also (Philippians 2: 13; Hebrews 13: 21; Philippians 1: 6). That He is using similar methods is shown in many passages, e.g., Romans 5:3-5; Hebrews 12:3-11.
Why does He deal with us in such ways? Why must we be "dragged through the mill" so often? Why should He labour ceaselessly to teach us, "To will and to do of His good pleasure?"
"There must be some good reason."
Indeed, there are several good reasons. Let us recall some of them:
(1) Trials and alterations in the patterns of our lives are often a call to a higher level of trust, a more active faith in our God. In Heb. 11: 1 we learn that an active, Bible-warranted faith (1 John 5: 14, 15) in Himself:
(a) becomes our "title-deeds" to things hoped for:
(b) makes it possible for Him to give evidence that unseen things are real.
(2) He longs to have His people all to Himself (Jeremiah 2: 1-3). Therefore His child-training (chastisement) is corrective, designed to bring us into a closer Father-and-son fellowship. It is intended to exercise us to further over-coming so that we may be more fully set-apart for God (holiness). Hebrews 12: 10-11.
(3) "Rugged" experiences and "set-backs" are heaven-sent opportunities for us to get to know God better and to prove for ourselves that He is able to deliver us in unforeseeable ways, e.g., Acts 27: 21-26.
(4) To make it possible for us to know something of the power of Christ in our inner lives (2 Corinthians 12: 7-10).
(5) Again, all things do "work together for good"; because God is at work in our lives seeking to conform us to the image of His Son - chiselling away at our unlikeness with His tools of trial and affliction, seeking to model our characters after the likeness of "Heaven’s Lovely Man" (Romans 5:3-5; 8:28, 29).
(6) But why should His child-training so often continue until the arrival of death? From Ephesians 2:4-7 we learn that God has had a great over-all purpose in His work for us and in us. And it has been, truly, something "to do us good in our latter end," for it finds its expression in "the ages to come." This great purpose behind your life and mine has been to "shew (to display, to manifest) the exceeding riches of His grace" - doubtless to the hosts of the universe. It will be seen "in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." In other words, in the coming ages we are to be on exhibition as examples of His amazing grace. Therefore we conclude that God is at work,
Getting Us Ready for the Ages to Come.
Then why should we grieve because "we do not seem to be getting anywhere", or mourn for days that are past, and, like Lot’s wife, be forever looking back? Or need we search any further for an answer to the why’s of life? The "ages to come" are just ahead of us. God is at work in our lives. Soon, very soon, we shall be on display as trophies of His grace. Surely such a prospect gilds the drabbest of lives with the very glory of Heaven Oh, beloved, what could we ever do for Him that could be so important as the work He is doing in us?