We finished part 1 with a goal to reach the Promised Land. In this Promised Land grows the Tree of Life, where God’s people are to have all their needs and wants met without toiling.
But God is romantic. If the love story is too easy, we can never know if the love is true. Romantic love faces trouble. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back. God originated this timeless plotline with His own story with His people. The most interesting, troublesome, yet romantic, and lengthy portion takes place just after boy loses girl. God lost his bride and then sent Moses to get her back. But, like any good plot, a long series of troublesome moments occur before “boy gets girl” back.
One of the troublesome spots is girl’s reluctance to return. “Send us back to slavery!” she cried. “At least we had food and water there!” “The people in the Promised Land are scary. Let’s stay here!”
Flaming swords guarded the entrance into this Promised Land with the Tree of Life. God had already allowed Adam and Eve to be tested with pleasure and pride, and now He allowed their descendants to be tested with the suffering and fear of flaming swords.
Romantic God wanted to know: How much does My bride trust Me? Is she willing to walk through a hot, sandy desert? Is she willing to live relying upon Me for every morsel she eats and every sip she drinks? Is she willing to climb a high mountain? Or face a frightening army of big, strong, fierce warriors? Does she love Me enough to face the swords?
Most of God’s people did not appreciate His romance. Of six hundred thousand people who walked through God’s greatest miracle, only two had enough faith to face the flaming swords guarding the Tree of Life.
Only Joshua and Caleb loved God and His promise with sufficient passion to run after the promise. They lived a radical faith that God would break through the thorns, mountains, and strong enemies for His people. Though the brothers and sisters of their own generation never made it, Joshua and Caleb entered the Promised Land and lived into the glory God had designed for them. “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chron. 16:9).
The metaphor of the Tree of Life transforms into the metaphor of the Promised Land, which transforms into the metaphor of the Kingdom of Heaven. Consistently, the Annointed said the kingdom of heaven "is." Still, the majority of God’s people today think life is for tomorrow, not for today. But drawing it into today means facing the sword. Like the frightened Israelites, many are willing to follow the Anointed One as Moses out of the land of slavery. Few have the courage to follow Him as Joshua into the Promised Land, the kingdom of heaven, for life today.