Apples of Gold

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The land rested from war

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 Chapter 11: Verse 23

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 by Satan.

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 to come.

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.

Author: Iain Mackenzie  Edited by: Pastor Al Moak