JOSHUA 18:3-6: “Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you? Pick out from among you three men for each tribe, and I will send them; they shall rise and go through the land, survey it according to their inheritance, and come back to me. And they shall divide it into seven parts. Judah shall remain in their territory on the south, and the house of Joseph shall remain in their territory on the north. You shall therefore survey the land in seven parts and bring the survey here to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.” TLV
OBSERVATION: There is a tension between what we have been called to become, and what we currently are. Sometimes we can grow weary in our pursuit of faith and opt for settling in our current state of life. This is what was happening to the Children of Israel when Joshua addressed them. They had experienced many victories, and five of the tribes had received their inheritance. Yet, there was still a vast amount of land to conquer. The destiny and future of seven tribes were hanging in the balance. What would they do?
Joshua had to give them a good old fashioned exhortation. In essence he said,
- “Hey guys, break time is over. What are you doing? There is still a lot to accomplish. Get up and get ready. What are you waiting for!”
Yet, in this exhortation Joshua did something that is worth noting. He did not call them to assemble into a battle formation. Rather, he appointed men to survey the remaining land, record it in scrolls, and bring back the report. From this report, Joshua was going to divide the land – even before it was conquered!
When I think about this it reminds me of my life as a Christian. Through the work of the Cross of Jesus Christ, I have received everything I need that pertains to life and godliness. Yet, when I look over my life, there remains so much that I have not yet attained or experienced. And, I am not alone, this was also the experience of the Apostle Paul. In the book of Philippians Paul writes,
- “My aim is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death— if somehow I might arrive at the resurrection from among the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or been perfected, but I press on if only I might take hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself as having taken hold of this. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua. Therefore let all who are mature have this attitude; and if you have a different attitude in anything, this also God will reveal to you. Nevertheless, let us live up to the same standard we have attained.” Philippians 3:10-16 TLV
Wow! Paul saw all that the Lord Jesus had done for him, called him to, and promised him. And, in seeing this, Paul also saw how short he fell from full attaining it or experiencing it. Paul was now faced with the same choice that the Children of Israel faced with Joshua. He could settle for what he had already attained and experienced, or he could press on to inherit ALL that the Lord had called him to. Thankfully for us, Paul chose the pathway that gives us an example to follow.
He pressed on toward the high upward calling of God in Christ Jesus, and so should we!
This is such a simple truth, but also one of the most profound truths we will ever embrace. How many believers have fallen short of all the Lord has promised them simply because they grew weary and gave up? This is the enemies strategy toward us all. Get us weary, convince us to settle, and rob us of the great reward of the high upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Yet, we have an advocate, who is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to us like Joshua came to the Children of Israel. He is continually calling us to greater things. The Holy Spirit continually calls us to press on toward the high upward call of God in Christ Jesus!
When we put the things of the past behind us, and when we reach out to the promises and callings of the Lord that lie before us, we are met with the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He pours out upon us grace and strength to survey our inheritance and resume our trek of faith in Christ Jesus. There is no outward enemy, peril, or struggle that can keep us from the high upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Not even death itself can keep us from attaining it. The only way we can fail to attain this high calling it is to forfeit our pursuit of it.
Lord, grant me the grace I need to follow the example of Joshua and Paul. Today I choose to put the past behind me, to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit calling me, to receive Your outpouring of grace and faith, and to press on to all that You have called me to be and become.
Today I choose to enter into my destiny of the high upward calling of God in Christ Jesus!
In Jesus Name!