“So Joshua said to the sons of Israel, “How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” Joshua 18:3
In verse 3 Joshua was asking the tribes why they were putting off their instruction to go possess the land. Instead of fulfilling God's command to destroy the Canaanites, who by this time were weakened and no longer a threat, the Israelites chose to do nothing. Now it is easy for me to criticize them for not following through on what God told them, when in fact I am sometimes guilty of the same thing.
I always think of prayer as an example. In Isaiah 55:6 it says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near.” And Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” And Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication make your request known to God…” so am I committed to seek the Lord in prayer or do I just like to say it? Prayer is commanded and I must take possession of my responsibility to pray.
Another example, Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” And Ephesians 6:19-20, “…and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” When was the last time I shared the gospel of Jesus with my neighbor, my friends, and my family? May I take possession of my responsibility to share Jesus with those around me.
One more, John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” I Thessalonians 4:9, “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” Do I display Christ in me and His love for those around me?
The issue is not, why didn’t the Israelites take possession of the land; the question becomes when will I take possession of my responsibility, to pray, to share Jesus, and to truly love those around me?
- Dave Magelssen