As we continue on the journey in our new season with the Lord, it is important that we pursue it until we reach the Lord’s intended end. It is easy to become tired of pressing in and quit. We can also become satisfied with how much progress we have made and decide we have gone far enough. There are inherent dangers, however, in stopping too soon.
The Word to Joshua
Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess. Joshua 13:1
At this point in time, Joshua may have been somewhere in the neighbourhood of 100 years old. He and the nation of Israel had waged a campaign to possess the Promised Land of Canaan that had lasted from 5 to 7 years. They had already taken down 31 kings (Joshua 12:7 – 24). It would have been easy for this old warrior to say, “Good enough! I’m tired, the people are tired, and we have enough land to provide the people with an inheritance.” That was not to be the case, however. The Lord encouraged Joshua to press the battle until Israel had possessed the land in its entirety.
A Downward Turn
After all the years of successful warfare, there was eventually a downward turn in Israel’s efforts. We begin to read things like
But theJebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem,the people of Judah could not drive out,so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day. Joshua 15:63
However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day but have been made to do forced labor. Joshua 16:10
And after the death of Joshua…
27 Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages, for the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land. 28 When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labour, but did not drive them out completely.
29 And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.
30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol, so the Canaanites lived among them, but became subject to forced labour.
31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon or of Ahlab or of Achzib or of Helbah or of Aphik or of Rehob, 32 so the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land, for they did not drive them out. Judges 1:27 – 32
At some point, Israel ceased to press the battle with the same fervency as they had in the beginning. They began to throw up their hand in frustration and just let the inhabitants of the land remain (although they did put many of them into forced labour). This did not turn out well for them. The people of the land became stumbling blocks to the people of God, just like the Lord said they would (Numbers 33:55).
Don’t Stop Too Soon
In the effort to possess your new day, please don’t stop too soon. Don’t become weary of the battle and quit. Don’t simply be satisfied with the progress you have made and decide that you have gone far enough. Take the land in its entirety. Don’t settle for anything less than the fullness of what the Lord desires to give you. The King will be satisfied with nothing less. Settling for less can actually cause you to wind up going backward in your journey with the Lord. Continuous forward progress that takes the land is a sure sign we are genuinely living in the Reign.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.