“…Very much of the land remains to be possessed.”- Joshua 13:1
Moses is dead. God raises up Joshua, who had been Moses servant since his youth, as successor to Moses, to lead the Israelites into the promise land. Joshua is given the charge to possess the land which the Lord had promised to give to the children of Israel as their inheritance. God assures Joshua of the success of his mission, but also instructs him to be ready to battle against the occupants of the land. With courage and obedience to the Lord, Joshua leads the children of Israel in the conquest of the land: “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.” Joshua 11:23
Joshua and the children of Israel can finally relax. They drove out their enemies, and now they can settle in the land. But that’s the problem; they had settled for an incomplete victory. God had more in store for His people so He says to Joshua: “You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land remains to be possessed.” In other words, “You can’t stop here, there’s still much to be done.”
Some us believers are like Joshua; we receive our commission from God: “…Occupy till I come.” (Luke 19:13). We set out with fervor and zeal to carry the work of the Kingdom. And when God blesses our endeavors and we’re seeing the fruit of our labor, we think to ourselves, “Things are good; it’s time to enjoy the success.” This is how we find many believers who have stopped short of the great victories God still had ahead for them.
But we’re not always swayed by success; sometimes it’s lack of progress, discouragement, and/or failure that keeps us from finishing the course and completing the work God instructed us to accomplish. If this is where you find yourself, don’t stop. The secret to moving forward is to not look back. Your tomorrow is greater than your yesterday, as long as you don’t give up.
Half obedience to God’s will is not only about missing the ‘bigger and better things’. It can have some dire consequences on our lives. Some of us have become complacent when it comes to dealing with sin in our lives. We conquer most of what we used to struggle with, but then neglect to address the ‘small’ sins that remain. Scripture records that because Saul spared Agag, king of the Amalekites (contrary to God’s instructions to utterly destroy them), Haman, a descendant of Amalek later came on the scene, plotting the destruction of the Jews (Esther 3:6,8-9). When the Israelites failed to completely drive out the Canaanites from the land, God’s children who were called to be set apart, allowed these idolatrous people to live among them (Joshua 16:10; Judges 1:29).
God has given His children the power of the Holy Spirit to fight and to conquer our enemies. But in order to experience total victory, we cannot become complacent, quit or half way obey the will of God. There’s still much to be done, many battles to be fought, and many victories to be won to the glory of God.
“I’m pressing on the upward way. New heights I’m gaining every day. Still praying as I’m onward bound. Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” –Johnson Oatman Jr