May 4, 2009 Ration

Deuteronomy 1:8a

“See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers…”

This is how the Lord works with all of us. He sets a land, an opportunity, a problem before us and then gives us a course of action. What will we do? Will we play the man of the “faithless first generation”? Their spies saw the glory of the land more closely than anyone, but they despaired as they compared their abilities to the given obstacles. Will we make the first generation’s second mistake of presumption? Once they realized they had erred by not trusting the Lord to conquer for them, they presumed to take the land by their own force, but the Lord was not with them – they failed.

The Lord now says to the second generation: "See…."

"See" means to take notice, to observe, to look. This is their first action. If they do not obey the charge to “see”, they too will not obtain. But the Lord says more than just “see”, He says, “See, I have set the land before you.” The Lord has put the land before them and they need to see it in that light.

When the Lord sets a land of sorts before you, artist, do you see it that way? That is, do you “see” that God has set the opportunity before you? If God sets an opportunity before you, then you need not look to your own strength to accomplish it, but His.

Does this mean that you do not exercise your strength? No. But most of our strength needs to be exercised against our desire to lead ourselves, rather than to be led by God. What exercise does the Lord give here? He says, “Go in and take possession…” This means that fighting and bloodshed are the means for the dispossession of the occupiers. Sure, their bodies are going to be worked, but it is the Lord who is giving the land to them through their going in and taking it by His granting command.

At the Red Sea, the Israelites’ first exercise was to fight against their fear: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today” (Exodus 14:13a). On the peoples’ part, they had to take action against the natural desire to become overwhelmed by the obstacle. Then when a way was made, their exercise was to take the way.

It seems that we miss so much pleasure in the arts because we tend to be like the first generation: spineless cowards who wouldn’t take what the Lord had shown them. We are often so numbed by our own limitations or failures that we do not hear the Lord say “See, I have set this before you. Go in and possess it!” Or our sights are set elsewhere, not on what the Lord is showing us. Our faith must be awakened. Our faith must be quickened, Our faith must be steadfast. Our faith must be in the strength and faithfulness of God who will accomplish what concerns us (Psalm 138:8).

Artists, what has the Lord set before you in the arts? I’m not asking what have we set before ourselves, but what has the Lord set before us? See and understand, then, that God has set it there. Listen to the Lord’s charge for you. Is it to go? Is it to stay? Is it to pray? Whatever the Lord’s charge, be sure to follow through completely, and from faith. Then you will see as your possession what the Lord has set before you to possess. Go and possess as the Lord shows you - to His great glory and for your greatest joys.

Jason Harms


© 2009 The Gaius Project