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Promised Land

June 23, 2012

“Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” – Joshua 1:9

 
Those are the words God spoke to Joshua upon the death of Moses, before the nation of Israel became a true nation, not just an itinerant band of twelve tribes wandering in the desert. They were a people that were tired, weary, lost for decades in the wilderness, and newly freed from the bondage of slavery imposed for generations upon their forefathers in Egypt.

They were, in a very real sense, not unlike a man or woman who has just given their heart to the Lord. Think about it: they had been chained in bondage, lost for years, with a past full of mistakes, disobedience, and faithlessness. Yet God, never forsaking His children, had still delivered them, guided them, and forgave them. And now they stood poised at the border of the Promised Land; a land flowing with milk and honey, and those were the words God gave their new leader, Joshua: to be strong and courageous, unafraid, with faith that God was with him.

In the same way many Christians stand on that same brink, staring out at their own Promised Land, yet unable to go forth and claim it. Why? Because, we don’t take God’s word to heart: we ignore His command. We are disobedient: instead of striding boldly forth in His name, we hover back timidly, waiting until we think the coast is clear to go forth and live for God, and to claim our blessings….only it never is. Why do we tarry?

First off, because we are weak. Yet, instead of strengthening ourselves through Christ we try to rely on ourselves…which is a sure-fire way to fail every time. Paul said “for when I am weak, then am I strong,” (II Cor. 12:10), because it is when we are at our weakest that we come to rely on Christ, and allow Him to work through us, and to use His strength as our own. Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:13).

Secondly, we are afraid. Afraid of pain, afraid of failure….afraid of being afraid, even. We forget that, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love Him, because He first loved us,” (I John 4:18-19). We have to learn to first accept God’s love, accept His grace, mercy, and forgiveness; accept that despite what we might endure in this life, despite our unworthiness, He does want us happy, healthy, prosperous, and whole. If we can accept that, then we can return that love…and then the darkness of fear will have no place to hide in the brilliance of that love.

And we have to be bold, faithfully trusting that He is with us at every moment: leading, guiding, and sheltering us. We must believe, and we must proclaim the Lord’s name loudly and proudly, and to follow Him wherever He might lead us; to “turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest,” (Josh. 1:7)

Today, we too have been commanded. We have all been given a mission, and apportioned a blessing – our very own Promised Land. A land flowing with milk and honey, it waits only to be claimed in God’s name, and for His purpose. But we do have to claim it, to fight for it, and to believe that God wants us to have it, and that He will deliver it into our hands, as He delivered Jericho, Ai, and all of Palestine into the hands of the Hebrews. We will at times fail, like they did; we will at times fall short. Yet if we only persist, and if we only believe, then as God’s children we will always triumph in the end.

I end this with one last verse; perhaps the greatest advice God gave to Joshua, and one that if we could only follow, we would live righteous lives indeed. “This book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success,” (Josh. 1:8)

Be blessed,

Joshua

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2 Comments
  1. Lynda Ingram permalink

    Enjoying all of your blogs Josh. You have great talent and I’m glad you are using it for God. Love you, Lynda

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