Text: Deut 2:3
You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north, NASB
Introduction: In 2002, Jennifer Lopez starred in a movie called “Enough”. It was about a gentle loving woman who was married to a rich yet abusive husband. Her marriage did not start out in abuse but when she tried do live like normal people, she noticed how controlling and domineering her husband was. He not only verbally abusive but he beat her anytime he thought she deserved it. She tried leave peaceably but he did not allow her to. The abuse got worse. But it was not until she got sick and tired of being sick and tired that she did something about it. She realized that how she was living was not the way anyone should live. She knew the only way out of her marriage was to fight back and kick his butt. She started training to defend herself. And at the proper time she was ready to fight back. Enough was enough and she was not going to take the abuse anymore. She wanted to have a better life.
Church, there have been some things in your life that you have dealt with that made life extremely difficult for you. Yet you have been tolerating it for a long time. You also know that God is telling you that there is a better way to live. There is more in store for you. You have been in this situation long enough and it’s time to move on to what God has for you.
Background: Moses and the children of Israel are now on the east bank of the Jordan preparing to enter into the promise land. But this is the new generation of Israel, the sons and daughter of the faithless who are now getting a reminder from Moses on what the Lord can do will do when we obey. In order for you move where God wants you to move, the first thing you have to do is have…
I. A change of perspective.
The text reads, “you have circled…stop right there. “You” is the operative word in this text. If you want get out from doing the same thing over and over again, it starts with you. Most of us, when we find ourselves in situations that we don’t care to be in, we tend to play the blame game. We want to blame somebody else for why we are in this mess. If so and so… Why God won’t…The devil got me….Your issues are everybody’s fault but your own. But the real deal is it’s you! You have to change you. In order to change you, you have to have a new perspective. A perspective is your mental view of your situation. In other words, it is what you think but we now have to do it differently. Remember, the children of Israel were in wilderness because of their wayward thinking. God had already given them the promise land. However, they did not trust God to possess it and they stayed in the wilderness for 40yrs.
As Moses reminded this next generation of Israelites of the mistakes of the past generation, I am here to remind Tried Stone not to let past behaviors forfeit your promise. Change your perspective by changing the way you think! The Israelites parents let thoughts of fear and complacency keep them in the wilderness by rebelling against what God had commanded! When God tells you to do something no matter what it is or looks like, do it! You have to know if God said it shall be come to pass!
Church, you have to think about your life and yourself differently. The bible says that “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. This is problem. We don’t think too highly of ourselves therefore we don’t think we can do better. Better yet, we don’t think about ourselves the way God thinks about us. You got to think what God thinks about you. Let me help you. Everything God thinks is wonderful! You are the very thoughts of God. You are a result of His creative power! That is why you are anointed! That is why you have greatness inside of you! This should make you change your perspective. You can change “you” by changing the way you think. Paul, says in Phillipians, “think on these things: true, honest, just, pure and good report”! Next…
II. Don’t get complacent in your current position
The text says that you have circled this mountain…
The word circled in this text in the original language is sabab which mean compassed, hover around, marching around or closing the loop. Simply put, you have been going around in circles. You have been seeing the same thing over and over again. You have been wearing out the carpet walking in the same place. You have circled this mountain long enough. Because of their disobedience, the children of Israel have been going around this mountain now for 40 years. For 40 years, they have been looking at the same rock formation. For 40 years, they have look at the same trees. For 40yrs, they have been running across the same animals. For 40 years, they have been in the same place going nowhere with no change. The Lord is now saying to them that they have been here long enough. Many of us are like the children of Israel. You have circled this mountain long enough. For years, you have been dealing with the same ole drama. For years you been trapped in the same rut. For years, you have been watching the days go by. You have been stuck on stupid. You have not changed nor have a desire to change. You have accepted the status quo of low living and it is ok with you. Familiarity breeds content. But the devil is a liar. God is saying to you today, “you have been here long enough.”
Everyone has a here. You here is different from my here. Your here may be depression. Your here may be anger. The children’s of Israel “here” was Mount Seir. In the original language Seir means “hairy” which metaphorically speaks as being tangled, difficult, and it makes you nervous. You have been going around this “difficult” situation long enough. Don’t get complacent with this current position. You have been here but God is trying to get to you go there! “There” is your promise. “There” is your victory! “There” is your strength. Because you have been here long enough! So don’t get complacent in this position. Next…
III. Connection to your purpose
You have circled this mountain long enough… In order to move to the place where God has for you, you need to be connected to your purpose. Former President Jimmy Carter speaks on his purpose on this wise, “I have one life and one chance to make it count for something”. This is purpose. This is what the old generation of the children of Israel did not do. Purpose is your end that you want to attain. But in Christ it is really your beginning. Our purpose is to bring God glory here on earth and to establish His Kingdom. Knowing your purpose leads to a fulfilled life of joy, and peace despite what may come your way. Your purpose is finding your lane in life and driving hard in it. But don’t get out of you lane. When you are out of your lane and you can cause an accident. This is our problem. We don’t know our purpose therefore we are like the children of Israel who just go through life aimlessly without any progress and being unfulfilled because they were not connected their purpose. Their purpose was to possess the land, the land of milk and honey. Possess is not a passive word. They had to take it. It was going to require work. However, they disobeyed and paid the penalty. When you are not operating in your purpose, you are disobedient and you will pay a penalty. If you don’t know purpose, check you passion and dreams. If it honors God and blesses people you got it.
You have been here long enough now it is time to operate in your purpose! Your purpose is not to die in the wilderness but to prosper in the land of milk and honey. If you are tired of living the same mundane life and tire of dealing with the same mess, you have to declare to yourself “I have been here long enough. I now am going to connect to my purpose!” The next thing to do is to…
IV. Come into your promise
After you have changed your perspective by changing the way you think. And that you stopped being complacent in your current situation. And you have connected to you purpose. Now it is time to come into your promise. The text says “now turn north”. First of all, I want to deal with the now. It is time for a change now. It is time to do something different now. You have to make your move now! You have no more time to waste. If you don’t do it now, you will end up dying in the wilderness. There is something that happens immediately if you act now. Now backwards is won! You won! You will have victory! But you have to do it now! Here what you have to do. The text says turn north. This is how you come into your promise. You have to stop what you are doing now and change directions. His blessings for Israel were north from Mount Seir in the land of Canaan. In the original language, “turn north” is a command. God is commanding them to change course. In other words, if you want things to change in your life, obey the commands of God now.
Also, if we look at the word turn exegetically, it gives us further clarity on what we must do and not do to move where God wants us to be. The Hebrew word for turn is panah. It has several meanings. It means to show a sign of turning back. This meaning is why many of us have a problem. It is here that the enemy gets us. When we show signs that we are going back to where we came from, we are saying our situation is bigger than our God and we settle for low living. But panah also means to turn toward or away from. My beloved, if we are going to move in the direction that God has for us, we are going to have to turn toward something better and turn away from the people places and things that keep us circling around our problems. You have turn towards God and turn away from the devil. Turn toward light and turn away from darkness. Turn toward positive and turn away from the negative. Turn towards the promise land and turn away from your wilderness because you been here long enough!
Celebration: I want to close of the last meaning of the word panah. It means to turn and do. What do you have to do you have to turn and do? Like God commanded the children of Israel, turn north and come into to your promise. The land of milk and honey is north of Mount Seir. They had to go up to get there. That is all what God is telling us to do. Turn and go up. Don’t stay down, but go up! When you go up, you are going higher. Tried Stone, it is time to go up. It is time to go higher. In everything you do, go higher! God wants to take you higher. Higher in worship, Higher in praise, Higher in service! So I am going north! North is up. North is elevation. North is my destiny. I am going up! And I am going higher! I am going upward! I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I am gaining everyday. Still praying as I onward bound, Lord plan my feet on higher ground!