LORD, give me the hill country

Over eleven years ago, the LORD gave me a clear word to leave the flock on a hill that He had graciously allowed me to undershepherd to carry out an assignment that He had for me. But as a part of that word, He assured me through Exodus 3:12 that once i had completed that assignment He would return me to the hillside to again shepherd. He made it very clear that it would not be the same hillside or the same flock; it would be a different flock on a different hillside. That flock for me eleven years ago was the First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach where i served as an associate pastor.

The assignment that the Lord subsequently led me to was with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Eight months ago the Lord began to remind me of that word, and over three months ago, He confirmed that it was His time for me to turn to that new hillside. And one of the passages of Scripture that the LORD used to confirm it was this one in Joshua 14. He reminded me that He had given me a promise – just like He did to Caleb. But He went on to challenge me through the words of Caleb that i needed to seek Him for the hill country – that there was still much work to be done – work through which He will produce His fruit.

So i have taken that step and here i stand on a new hillside, in obedience to His direction. And i am asking the LORD to grant me the faith of Caleb to persevere if we encounter a popular tide of opinion that is contrary to what He has clearly directed. i am asking Him to grant me the courage of Caleb to enter into the unknowns that lie ahead on the hillside. i am asking Him to grant me the strength of Caleb as we encounter the giants along the way. And i am asking for His favor that i might demonstrate the faithfulness of Caleb in doing all things well. So what is your hill country? You may already be there. It may very well not require you to make any change in your location or your circumstance. But it may very well require you to change how you look at it. The hill country is never a place to coast. It will always require work. But the results will always be exceeding abundantly beyond anything that you could hope or ask (Ephesians 3:20). The hill country will require faith. It will require courage and boldness. It will require strength. And it is not a place you want to enter into unless the LORD goes with you – and you abide in Him. Because it will require His indwelling presence and filling. In short, it will not be something you can do on your own. But with Him, you will have the confidence that you can do all things (Philippians 4:13).