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.
God had promised Moses
and then Joshua that they would inherit a new land, a land flowing with milk
and honey, the promised land. We may have assumed that once they has crossed
the Jordan then all would be well, that thereafter it would just be a case of
dividing the land and allowing the tribes time to settle down.
Plain sailing? An easy life? Not so!
Perhaps I too expected that once I had become a Christian then all my worries,
pains and fears would end. All would be well and everything in the garden
would be rosy.
Little did I realize just how wrong my thinking was!
No one really bothered the children of Israel as they sojourned in the desert.
They were not bothering anyone, and the only real trials that came upon them
were among themselves. But actually their problems truly started when they
went forward to inherit the promise of God in a new land.
Back to the present - what kind of picture do we paint for those to whom we
witness? Do we tell them only about the benefits of being a Christian, or do
we tell them honestly that there is a warfare to be accomplished and a cross
to be carried?
The Israelites once again - it was only proper that those whose land they were
taking would not be willing to give it up to strangers without a fight - and
so Israel's battles began. Had the Lord not been on their side they would have
fallen at Jericho.
For us once again - the story of the battle of Ai is one to which we should
all give heed. I have an illustration of my meaning. I struggled for years
with a compelling secret sin. Such was the hideousness of it that I justified
myself and even legalized that particular sin in my own eyes! The last thing
on earth that I wanted to do was to give it up!
When I did eventually acknowledge the sin and repent of it, the heavens opened
upon my soul! I had been withholding the blessings from myself through
stupidity, arrogance and pride.
Pride would not allow me to accept the fact that I had gone wrong. After all
it was God who had ordered my providence and in the end it must have been His
Will for things to turn out the way they did. But, my friend, this kind of
thinking is very dangerous ground, and it is the thinking of a mind distorted
I held onto this sin and even fed it from day to day, thinking that in the end
all would be well. You see, nobody knew what was going on in my mind except
God. But the problem is, God is not mocked!
Life becomes a continual misery, a living nightmare until that which is
forbidden is dealt with. It is impossible to have peace in our souls when we
are offending God. We may put it down to other things to begin with, but in
the end we must come face to face with the Achan (see the story of Ai) within
us - and he must be slain.
The wars and victories continued after Achan had been dealt with. Of course
there would have been times when spirits would have flagged and the 'I can't
take anymore' syndrome would have been heard and felt by many, but onward they
marched until the whole land had been taken by them.
Only then did the land find rest from war. God had fulfilled His promise, the
enemies were conquered, the land was divided, and an inheritance was given to
all but the tribe of Levi. Then and now God will fulfill every His Word, and
all His promises despite our failings and murmurings!
There may be many days when the constant warfare threatens to overwhelm us.
Each day, we go forward, almost at the end of our tether, not knowing what
this day will hold for us, yet knowing that the ongoing attacks will continue
The direction of those attacks may be hidden from us - but our armour remains
constant. Daily the breastplate must be put on, the shield lifted into
position and our sword firmly grasped. The battles we face today are much
harder than the first ones we faced, because our skill as soldiers has
increased through each victory. Now the enemy uses various tactics, some of
which we are able to spot, but others are new to us. All must be dealt with.
The timing may differ
for each of us, but God always fulfils His promises. Some of us are kept
waiting for many a long year, while others are blessed with an early gift of
deliverance. Perhaps today will be the day when the battle ceases for you and
the promise of better things comes to pass my friend.
If that is the case then we rejoice with you. If not, then we must persevere
until that day comes. Victory, my friend, is assured, so let us be valiant
soldiers in today's campaign. Remember that He said, "As I was with Moses so
I will be with you." There may be many against us, but God is on our side.
The day will come for all His people when our warfare is accomplished. Then
and only then will our rest be eternal. There will be no more war and there
will be no further enemies in Beulah's Land. God is with us today and He will
be with us throughout eternity. Our Bridegroom awaits, let us do all that we
can in His name while it is yet day.