You know it’s been a long week when it stretches into two…
I left us all standing at the border between the desert and the Promised Land. While I was waiting on dusty tiptoes, you may have started tapping an impatient toe or two of your own. I apologize. I was practicing tonight’s blog…
The month of Av (as you’ll recall from the previous post) is a time of testing of the open door. Have you ever stood at an open door and decided to not go through it? No doubt, yes. If there was a storm wreaking havoc outside; the neighbor’s dog was barking like a commandant as you approached the gate between your yards; or the worst you could imagine stood on the other side of that imaginary door in your mind…
However, God did not promise the worst you could imagine. Nor did He promise the best you could imagine. He promised the best that He could imagine. Which is why I am opting for door number three!
The catch is (no, don’t groan…that’s what the Israelites did and look where it got them!), God simply asks that we believe Him, trust Him, watch and wait for Him, move out when He says to, and He will deliver the enemy into our hands.
The moving out part is sometimes the hardest part of this journey. Yet that’s where God brings us to when everything is at stake – a very narrow place, like the eye of a needle, that requires some maneuvering in order to pass through.
Before your mind maneuvers too far down the road, though, I’d like to pull you back to considering this open door and what it really requires. Bear with me as I’m fresh off the practice field on this one given the past two weeks of life’s occurrences…
Just as there were giants in the land of Canaan that had the power to strike fear into the hearts of the majority of the spies, and therefore, the people, there are giants in the narrow place – “the eye of the needle” – that God wants to take us through in order to bring us out into the place of abundance and fulfillment.
Between the promise and the fulfillment, one often goes through a narrow place. Paul, to attain the promise, suffered great loss. David, anointed as king of Israel, endured years of waiting and being chased for his very life by Saul. And Jesus, in his humanity, dreaded going to the cross, for being God in the flesh, he knew the suffering and agony he was about to endure.
What is meant by “the eye of the needle?” It harkens from biblical times when cities were enwalled and the gates to the city were closed each night. However, there was a tiny little door called “the eye of the needle” that was just big enough to let one person at a time pass through. What if a camel laden down with his burden arrived after sunset and the gates had been closed? Could a camel even get through? Yes, it could, but how?
The camel had to do two things: take off all the baggage and burden he carried, and get down on its knees in order to pass through “the eye of the needle” or little open door.
We get through the same way the camel did, which is why Jesus said in Matthew 19:24, “And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Literal Version)
Jesus himself modeled it for us as it says in Philippians 2:7-8, “but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, having become in the likeness of men and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, having become obedient until death, even the death of a cross.”
If Jesus had to empty himself being in our likeness (as a man), how much more do we need to empty and humble ourselves, becoming obedient to that which God is asking of us as we stand at the border of the “new thing” He is desirous of doing in and through us?
How do we, today, pass through “the eye of the needle” in order to enter the land of promise, abundance and blessing that God has prepared for us, individually and corporately? (None of us are in this alone, my friend).
- Take off the encumbrances, baggage, and hindrances. It is called confession, repentance, and turning and walking out life in the opposite direction and spirit; not repeating the sin again.
- Humble yourself by submitting to the difficult process God is allowing and even has put you in. What is Jesus asking you to do that you really don’t want to do? It is there He asks us to humble ourselves.
- In order to make it through the eye of the needle, you must keep your eyes on the joy set before you, just as Jesus did “endure the cross for the joy set before Him.” Joy and faith intertwine right here. Without joy that comes from fixing one’s eyes on those specific promises of God that He has given you, through prophecy, through His Word, through His speaking voice, through His Holy Spirit impressing upon your spirit, it is hard for faith to rise up.
Yet, to be filled with joy at the thought of the blessing He has prepared ahead for you, coupled with believing Him (remember, believing God is the issue), faith then rises up on wings and it becomes a matter of watching God’s goodness and mercy following you all the days of your life. (Psalm 23:6)
Whatever are the obstacles that are facing you today, God has set before us all an open door to press through those obstacles as through “the eye of the needle.” In the face of the giants that would tempt us to falter, fear, hesitate, murmur, doubt, and turn back, remember that if we choose to press forward through “the eye of the needle,” God walks through it with us, every step of the way.
Whom then shall we fear?