When reading the book of Joshua recently, today’s verse seemed to leap out of the page for me. The context was that the people of Israel had been rescued from slavery in Egypt and, after long wanderings in the wilderness (because of their grumblings and disobedience to God) and after many battles fought, they were about to enter into the land that God had promised them. This was to be a land of peace and abundant provision for them and their families. Joshua was challenging them not to wait any longer before taking possession of all this.
For us, the equivalent is that we have been rescued from slavery to sin and death through the complete work of Jesus on the Cross. That is where our journey begins. The Lord then starts the process of sanctification in our lives, bringing us into healing and wholeness, leading us into the “Promised Land” of our inheritance as children of God.
The problem is that many of us continue to wander in the desert, like the people of Israel, without taking hold of all that God has for us. And yet we are told in Romans 8:17 that, as the children of God, we are “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ”. We have a rich inheritance “that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4), but many of us are not living in the full benefit of it. If we had a rich relative who had died and left us a fortune in his will, we would be very quick to go and claim that inheritance and to start to use it, but many of us are not doing that with the wonderful inheritance we have as God’s children.
So how do we enter into all God has for us? In Joshua’s final instructions to the people, as they enter the Promised Land, he tells them to: “Be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left” (Joshua 23:6). Obedience is the key to receiving God’s blessings, as we can see in Deuteronomy 28.
Joshua also tells them not to associate with the nations that remained among them. For us, we are surrounded by influences in the world which can easily distract us and draw us away from the Lord. If we are to enter fully into all God has for us, it will mean turning our back on the temptations of the world and not being tainted by them.
Lastly Joshua exhorts the people to: “Be very careful to love the LORD your God” (Joshua 23:11). Loving Him means being in close relationship with Him, putting Him first, at all times, worshipping Him, spending time with Him, serving Him and obeying Him. If we do all this, we will enter more fully into all that God has for us – the Promised Land of our inheritance. Let’s not wait!
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