“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14.
Do you feel you are in a war without end? A battle that cannot be won? Those who fought in Viet Nam knew the physical reality of the unending war. Many believers are caught in a continuing cycle of spiritual warfare and fear losing ground. The Book of Joshua reveals a plan for victory.
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9.
The Book of Joshua is the antithesis to The Book of Numbers. Numbers relates the history of a generation weak in faith and fearful to face the warfare involved in living out the high calling of God.
“And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night…Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness…And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt… I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.” (Numbers 14:1,2b,4, 35).
Joshua reveals a generation strong in faith and filled with the confidence of the Lord to bring to completion His word in them.
“According as we hearkened unto Moses[Remember this is a different generation than fell], in all things, so will we hearken unto thee; only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses…be strong and of good courage… And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass concerning you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.”( Joshua 1:17,18b;23:14).
The generation under Joshua’s leadership witnessed the fruit of weakness and fear manifested in forty years of wandering. Death in a desert place reigned. What did the new generation have to lose walking in the strength of faith in the Lord God who showed Himself faithful even to a faithless generation. He would not deny Himself but would fulfill all His purpose in a people who believed Him unto obedience and followed Him through the Jordan into battle.
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it…If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (1Thess.5:24; 2Tim. 2:13).
The foundation for any successful plan of battle begins with your Captain, believing he is capable of delivering you to victory.
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? and he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship…” Joshua 5:13,14ab.
- “I am for you, your success.” Remember our success shows God’s faithfulness to His children.
- He is able to deliver. “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.” Joshua 4:23-24.
- He is faithful. “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.” Joshua 1:3.
The Lord’s promise and purpose to Moses and to Abraham, He fulfills. He brings His children to their inheritance. “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.” Gen. 12:6,7.
Why did it take so long? How often do we ask that question? As we review, we see God’s sovereignty and wisdom in preparing a people to be His holy people, a people to show forth His praises to a world steeped in idolatry. But we, also, see God’s mercy on a lost world as He speaks to Abraham.
“But in the fourth generation they[Abram’s seed] shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Gen. 15:16. The sin of the Canaanites wasn’t complete. For four hundred years plus, the Lord waited for them in patience, giving witness of himself through the faithfulness of Abraham and through His judgment on Egypt. The day of their judgment arrived.
“And to the Canaanite…Amorite…Hittite…Perizzite…Jebusite…and…Hivite…and all their hosts with them…even as the sand that is upon the sea shore…with horses and chariots very many…came…to fight against Israel. And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire…And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel…” (taken from Joshua 11:3-8).
The Book of Joshua recounts a people receiving the inheritance of God. It was not taken easily but by faith in the One able to deliver it. We, too, have an inheritance and it begins when we step into the river of life and cross the Jordan into the abundance of life. It culminates in eternity but begins now with that first step. Then the Lord will take us from faith unto faith until His work is complete in us.
What holds you back from living the high calling of God? Remember you are not alone and it is not done in your might. The conquest takes a lifetime, but what do you have to lose?
“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matt. 10:39.