We recently took a trip through parts of Tennessee and North Carolina. I love the mountains. We drove roads where people had blasted a way through solid rocks. My husband was in wonder of the effort and ability of early surveyors marking out a territory. We took a tour through the Biltmore Estate, and the bus driver conveying us to the house gave our group some information. It was once a 125,000 acre property, reduced to 8,000 acres. According to our driver, the sale of the land contained a condition that it would be a national park, and that the park would keep the name Pisgah in it.
“It has a biblical meaning, and that’s all I can say about that,” she finished. I immediately looked up the meaning of Pisgah. It was the mountain (not the one in North Carolina!) where God showed Moses the promised land he would not enter.
2 There remained among the people of Israel seven tribes whose inheritance had not yet been apportioned. 3 So Joshua said to the people of Israel, “How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you? 4 Provide three men from each tribe, and I will send them out that they may set out and go up and down the land. They shall write a description of it with a view to their inheritances, and then come to me. 5 They shall divide it into seven portions. Judah shall continue in his territory on the south, and the house of Joseph shall continue in their territory on the north. 6 And you shall describe the land in seven divisions and bring the description here to me. And I will cast lots for you here before the Lord our God.
Joshua 18:2-6, ESV
But where I land is here:
7 The Levites have no portion among you, for the priesthood of the Lord is their heritage.
Joshua 18:7a, ESV
I sit with those words and treasure them.
In Mark 8, Jesus performs miracles–feeding thousands from a little bit, and yet the Pharisees want a sign from heaven.
11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Mark 8:11-12, ESV
And even his own disciples lose focus.
14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
Mark 8:14-21, ESV
31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:31-38, ESV
Lord, help me to always maintain my focus on you and your kingdom. I don’t want to be so caught up in the things of this world that I fail to see you and your work at hand.