Thursday, October 9, 2014

See God {Day 9: The God of Conquest}

The wilderness wanderings were finally over for the Israelites.  After years and years of it, I wonder if it had become comfortable.  The new normal.  A whole generation only knew of the wilderness.  The manna.  The constant life of a nomad. 

And then Moses died.

It was time for Israel to embark upon a new season of life.

It was time for action.  War.  Conquest.  Taking hold of God's promises.  Comfort had to take a back seat so that the warrior side of each man could rise to the surface.

God had promised them land.  Land that supposedly belonged to others.  The Israelites could only proceed with faith in a God that said He would personally drive out the enemies that occupied their land. 

The conquest recorded in Joshua required a Holy Dance between Jehovah and His people.  God promised, the people followed the rhythm with actual steps, God showed off, and the Israelites gave credit to the Master Choreographer.

His promise never negates our responsibility of action.

God wouldn't even part the waters of the Jordan until the Priests had entered the river with their feet.  The river was filled to the brim at flood stage, impossible for a huge group of people to swim across.  I wonder what was going through their minds at that moment. 

What mattered is that they entered the waters no matter what was going through their minds.  Their faith was tested.  And God proved faithful.  He always does.

Once on dry ground, the people of Israel were now referred to as a nation.  They had stepped onto their Promised Land, and they were now a nation, not just a group of wanderers.  God's promise to Abram in Genesis 12:2 that says He was going to make Israel a great nation had just come to fruition.

We, too are part of a nation.  The Kingdom of God.  Once washed in the purifying blood of the Lamb, we become citizens of Heaven.  A royal priesthood.  A holy nation set apart to declare the praises of the One who called us out of darkness.

Back to the Israelites.  The new generation was circumcised.  The Passover was celebrated.  The new way of life was about to begin.  The manna stopped.  The day after the new nation ate of the produce of their new land, the manna stopped.  God's timing of provision is perfect.
Conquest was about to begin.  Jericho.  Ai.  City after city fell.  Utterly wiped out.  God gave the victory, but man had to enter into the fight.

You wonder if Joshua and the chosen nation of God got comfortable.  Perhaps they entered into a new normal.  Because in chapter 13, the Lord tells Joshua, "You've had a good, long life, but there is a lot of land still to be taken.  This is what remains..."

Joshua must have taken the Lord at His word, because he later asks the people, this new nation, how long they are going to sit around on their hands, putting off taking possession of the land that GOD, the GOD of their ancestors, had already given to them.  (Joshua 18:3, the Message)

The Lord had fulfilled all His good promises to His people.

How were they going to respond?

How will we respond?

Will we go forward and possess what has already been given to us?

What does this look like?

What do we possess that we won't take hold of?

If Christ is our primary inheritance, what keeps us from enjoying and partaking of Him fully?

Perhaps we are overcome with fear as we see walled cities and giants on our land.

Maybe God wants us to ask Him one simple question:  "In my life, what land remains to be taken?"

God wants us to do as Caleb did.  Despite the fact that he is 85 years old, he marches up the mountain of Kiriath-arba and overcomes the Anakim.  He takes down the giants.  The land had been promised to him long ago.  He waited 45 years for it.  And his age was not going to be his deterrent. 

He changes the name of Kiriath-Arba to Hebron.  Hebron means Communion.  Friend.  Association.  Life.

He renames it life because Caleb knew one thing:  There is life when we take possession of our land.

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