Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. (Deuteronomy 8:1)
Be Careful! The instructions the people who would become the nation of Israel received all those years ago. Though they were spoken to reference their specific movement from wilderness wandering into the land of Promise, they actually have application for us today. The first instruction they receive as they are about to set out on this new journey was to "be careful" - to mark their lives, their actions, and their thoughts with attentive concern so as to avoid error or any omission of truth or trust. The challenge to us is to be living in such a way that we show close attention to the details when it comes to conforming to the Word of God. It has often been said that the "devil is in the details", but I would like to challenge you to think more appropriately that "God is in the details".
Follow! Notice specifically - they weren't asked to lead, but rather to follow. There are some that follow a leader so closely that they eventually begin to think, act, and speak like that leader. There are others that follow so far back that the impact of that leader's life really is insignificant in their own. Those are the ones that are "just barely" on the journey! We cannot be one step behind or sitting on the sidelines. We have to go after God with the intention that we will attain all that he has prepared for us - with purpose and intent. We need to follow with the intention of allowing his life to affect ours fully. This type of following involves attentiveness - watching steadily for the movement, that action, the intention of the one we are following - not willing to miss one single move he makes.
Every Command! Israel was coming into a new place - both physically and spiritually. They had not been this way before. The same is true for us - we haven't been this way before, so we need the complete instructions from our leader on how it is we are face what awaits us just ahead. The purposes of God are laid out in his Word - it is one thing to look at a road map - it is quite another to follow it turn by turn until you discover you have arrived at your destination!
That You May Live! Here we get to the crux of the matter - the idea of "what's in it for me". The idea presented here is not just the simple matter of breathing in and breathing out. It is the idea of doing more than just "existing" - it involves understanding our purpose and living in such a way so as to fulfill that specific purpose. This kind of "living" is full of spiritual energy, enthusiasm, vigor, and vitality that is not subject to the attitudes of the world, the afflictions of our body, or the winds of circumstance.
That You May Increase! Woohoo! The were given a 'taste', but now they would experience the realization of another "what's in it for me"! The promise is one of growth - in our intensity, our strength, and our usefulness. Increase is really meant to "enlarge us" - in our walk, and not just our talk. It is through this process of "enlarging us" that God is able to align the things we portray on the outside with the actual attitude of spirit and soul on the inside.
That You May Enter and Occupy! It is one thing to enter - quite another thing to actually possess. What God is challenging us today with is the idea that he wants to penetrate areas where he hasn't been given access to before. He wants to probe new depths that have previously been out of bounds in our lives - that he may possess us and we may possess him. When we occupy our physical homes, they have a tendency to become our places of dominion - we aren't just visitors there. God wants to not just "visit us" with his presence and his love - he wants to be set up in our lives so as to be in a place of welcomed dominion. Just sayin!