Pilgrim’s Notes: Promised Land
One of the first ‘Holy Sites’ we visited upon arriving at Jordan is Mount Nebo. According to Deuteronomy, this is the place where God showed Moses the promised land (land of Canaan). If we remember, Moses is the adopted son of the Pharaoh’s sister, who ended up leading the Israelites out of the slavery from Egypt. We can attribute, the parting of the sea, the falling of manna from heaven, and sourcing water from the rock to this exodus that led. But Moses himself will not get to see the promised land because he will die on the mountain. Legend has it that he died on that mountain, but his body was never found. It is believed that his body did not ‘die’ but that he was bodily assumed into heaven — like Elijah and the virgin Mary.
When we got to the site, I was excited. I was anticipating what Moses saw. On the way up, we saw the marker that was put up to commemorate John Paul II’s visit to the site.
I got very upset when I saw some vandals had already desecrated it.
With lot’s of renovations going on and limited time to spend on the mountain, I didn’t get to see a lot of the mosaics. But I thought the highlight would be the panoramic view of the Promised Land… Okay so the day was hazy, so we couldn’t see anything much. There’s really nothing much. Not much vegetation, no greens…my thought balloon was: “That’s it!?! That’s the Promised Land?”
Somehow I thought I was thinking like the Israelites during Moses’ time — grumbling. Asking Moses why he had to take them out of Egypt, where there was food and water, only to let them stay in the desert where there was nothing.
I thought about the great faith that Moses had on God’s promise — that even though he did not possess of necessary leadership skills, he took courage at 40-80 yrs old to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. He held on with the knowledge that God is a faithful God. And even though he was not given the grace to see the Promised Land (it was Aaron who eventually led the Israelites to the Promised Land), he trusted that what was spoken to him would happen.
Then I thought about my own faith — whatever little faith I had. I thought that if I saw what I saw in Mt. Nebo, would I still have proceeded with the journey? Would I have been trusting in that the promise of God is greater than what my limited vision could provide? The answer is probably ‘no.’
But the experience has taught me to hold on to the Faith — to patiently wait upon the Lord. For our God is a faithful God. And his plans are far greater than what we could envision. And He plans for us to prosper and be happy.
That beyond the deserts of Jordan — on the other side of the mountain– are the lush plains of Jericho, where all kinds of vegetation grow. I didn’t see this at Mount Nebo, but I saw this 2 days later, when I got to Jericho. Indeed, it’s a Promised Land.
We all have a ‘Promised Land’ in our lives that God is calling us to journey to. And while the promise of the land is abundant, the journey may be trying. The message of Mount Nebo to me is to be faithful to my calling, and trust that the Lord will provide the strength, the intellect, the food, the water, and everything we need to get to that land. All we need to do is fix our eye on the prize, and keep on walking…
All photos taken using Fujifilm XM1