“But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave…Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress. In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing…and our priests are affixing their seals to it.” Nehemiah 9:36-38.
God never intended for His children to not enjoy the harvest of the land He promised them through the covenant with their forefathers. His intentions were their joy, provisions and prosperity, but they had continuously sinned against Him through their refusal to keep His commands and their ungrateful hearts. They felt entitled to certain attitudes and rightful in their self-focus. But their exile had left them empty with a hungry heart to come back to God, be restored through His forgiveness, and take hold of the promise that was theirs. ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will gather you…and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’ Jeremiah 29:10-14.
The time was upon them and their hearts were ripe for the harvest. They had been kidnapped and their land ravished by foreign kings for long enough. They recognized their sinful attitudes and deeds and laid them down at the throne of grace, picking up the life for which God intended.
Many of us are enslaved to something in a land where we were meant to live in freedom and prosperity. God has assigned our lands to us with the opportunity to live both joyfully and abundantly in the harvest. Our experience will be determined by what kind of heart for God we possess. Just like the residents of the rebuilt wall, we must confess our sins, turn our hearts back to God’s agenda, and commit to Him. ‘In view of all this’ we must commit in our hearts to love Him with all of our strength, mind and soul. This commitment must be more than on our tongues but written on our hearts. ‘You show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.’ 2 Co. 3:3.
We cannot allow our fears, doubts and rights to rule over us directing the manner in which we live our lives. When we feel enslaved to anything we choose to place those shackles around our wrists and ankles. But through our surrender to God, we allow Him to unlock those areas of captivity and take claim to the deed of our God ordained land.