Last summer we enjoyed a fabulous tomato crop in our little home vegetable garden. It was, by far, the best tomato growing season in the 17 years that we had lived and gardened in Kansas. We picked buckets and buckets of tomatoes, much to our great delight.
We ate fresh tomatoes with our meals. We ate fresh tomatoes by themselves. We ate fresh tomatoes on sandwiches. We gave tomatoes away to neighbors and friends. I canned delicious salsa. I also canned 34 quarts of tomatoes. And Aaron gave tomatoes to his friends at his day group, which made him very happy.
Now, I could have stood at the edge of our garden every day just enjoying the sight of those tomatoes on the vines. I could have talked about how many were growing there, told everyone about them, and taken some pictures to share. But what good would any of that have been?
In order to really partake of my tomatoes, I needed to take possession of them. That meant, in this case, to go to the garden with my bucket in hand and then pick each tomato off the vine. It meant putting the tomatoes in my bucket, bringing them in my house, washing them, and then using them in whatever way I wanted at the time.
I read an interesting verse one day. The verse is Obadiah 17 (only one chapter in Obadiah). This verse is referring to a future time, even future for Israel today, but a time when Israel would finally enjoy the fullness of God’s plan and blessings. What jumped out at me was this phrase: “And the house of Jacob will possess their own possessions.”
So how do you possess your own possessions? I mean, if they’re your possessions, don’t you already possess them?
Well, it’s kind of like my tomatoes in the garden. They were my tomatoes……my possessions……but I didn’t POSSESS my tomatoes until I really TOOK possession of them. There is a huge difference in looking at those tomatoes, and really taking possession of them in order to fully partake of and enjoy them.
God made a covenant with Israel, one in which he promised to be their God and that they would be His people. He promised them a land and many blessings. God’s covenant is unbreakable and will never change. But full enjoyment of all the benefits of that covenant, and of God’s full blessings, hinged on one word…..one sometimes very difficult word.
“Now then, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall by My Own possession among all the peoples…..” (Exodus 19:5)
See the difficult word? It’s the word “obey.” God wasn’t referring to covenant status here. His covenant itself depended only on Him. But covenant enjoyment depended on obedience.
God said, “All these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you IF you obey the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 28:2)
Obedience equals blessing.
God repeatedly told Israel that obedience is better than sacrifice. He told them over and over that the land and the enemies therein were their possession. But they couldn’t fully possess their possessions until they obeyed God.
Obedience equaled full partaking of God’s promises and His blessings.
Possessing their promised possessions.
What about me?
As a follower of Christ, God has given me many great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4). He promises peace, power, wisdom, strength, and so much more. These are my possessions in Christ, but not fully possessed by me until I walk in obedience.
Repentance of sin and walking in obedience are the keys to fully possessing all the wonderful possessions that I have as a believer. It’s really very simple, but also very difficult. Difficult because I so often want my own way. Simple because God is full of forgiveness when I repent.
So I can stand on the edge of the garden, so to speak, looking in at all the beautiful promises of God given to me in His Word. But only when I choose to read my Bible and learn of God’s will and His ways for me…….and then choose to obey……will I be fully in possession of all His promises for me. I’m not talking about salvation. I’m talking about living a full life the way God intended for me to live as His child.
I love the often unsung fourth verse of the old hymn, Trust and Obey:
But we never can prove the delights of His love,
until all on the altar we lay.
For the favor He shows;
For the joy He bestows;
Are for them who will trust and obey.
I don’t want to just look at God’s favor and God’s joy. I want to possess God’s favor and possess God’s joy……to partake of those promises, fully.
Possess my possessions!