There Are Still Very Large Areas of Land to be Taken Over (Joshua 13:1-7) February 20, 2011
Last week, we thought about how important it is to fight the spiritual battle for the people who have been entrusted to you (family, children, those you evangelized, and those you will evangelize) through the message of “Evangelist’s Reasonable Challenge”. It is important because you should not lose what God has given you. Eventually, that was how the Israelites constantly experienced the answers and blessings of conquering Canaan as they saw God’s abundant evidence. But time waits for no man. When Joshua grew old, God gave him an important command. “Since you are now very old, yet there are still very large areas of land to be taken over, allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance.” What does this mean? Because God has prepared abundant blessings for His people regardless of your age and level, prepare to enjoy them all yourself and also prepare for your descendants to enjoy them. How can we apply this to us? There is a lot God has prepared for those He has chosen to save. But we live not knowing, neglecting, or losing hold of that fact. Then what is important?
1. You must think about your future. In all circumstances, you must think about and draw your picture.
1) What is one of important differences between man and animals? Men think about their future, prepare for their future, and contain the eternal future within their instinct (Ec.3:11). This is one of the features of the spiritual being that resembles God’s image (Ge.1:27). That is why only men think about the future and find hope for life, desire, new plans, challenge, and creativity from there.
2) Failure of all failures is not dreaming and thinking about the future. If you just think about the future and have hope and desire just a little bit, the failure you are having now cannot be a problem; you will use that problem as a platform and challenge again.
a. What is one of the methods the Devil uses to destroy your life? He makes you lose hold of your future. On the one hand, he makes you bound to the failures and scars of your past, and on the other hand, he makes you deceived by and complacent about reality. That is why it says in Is.43:18-20, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” God is doing a new thing. Even if your life may seem like wilderness and desert, do not be deceived. God will make a way and streams even there. That is why you should find and actually draw a picture about your future that God gives you every time you listen to the Pulpit message.
b. When do unbelief, discouragement, despair, and depression come? First, they come when you lose hold of God and second, they come when you lose hold of future. God is clearly able, but you are only into “present” and “right now” losing hold of God and future. This is also how Adam and Even failed and fell. They took the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil that looked good and pleasing to the eye in that very moment. If you are choosing legalism over the Gospel just because it is urgent and it will bring immediate benefits, it will hold your ankles when you have to do something important.
3) Ever since the moment you received salvation, you are within God’s perfect, greatest, and eternal future. God walks with you and guides you to His perfectly prepared future, helps you, and works for you the moment you accepted Christ and His spirit entered you. When you can constantly enjoy it, you will be able to see the future and grab hold of it. All who call upon the Lord’s name and receive salvation will “dream dreams and see visions” regardless of their age (Joe.2:28). When that Holy Spirit works upon you, you will receive power and be a witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Ac.1:8). From Jerusalem to the ends of the earth is the extent of your future.
4) That is why you must drive on even if you have problems today. God has clearly prepared the future and the problems He allows you are only process and platform of going towards that blessing (why a crazy person blocked the way of an Olympic marathoner). What does Satan do? He makes you lose hold of the “future prepared for you” and hope and desire for today. You are designed to go well as day goes by, but if you lose hold of your future, you will be dying on your own as time goes by.
2. You must first conquer the inheritance God gave you.
1) That is why “three today’s” is very important. You must have victory today. But you cannot do this by your own strength alone. That is why you must form a lifestyle in which you enjoy today’s Word, today’s prayer, and today’s evangelism. You must have the covenant to hold for the day through the Pulpit message and the Prayer Journal message (today’s Word). As you hold onto that covenant, you must continue to think, concentrate, apply, and pray (today’s prayer). You will undoubtedly receive God’s strength and wisdom as you enjoy the filling of the Word and the Holy Spirit. As you meet people, you just think about finding God’s plan and prepare (today’s evangelism). You give someone whom you are supposed to receive help from an evangelism tract hoping that he would receive blessings from God, and that may touch his heart. Listening to God, receiving strength from God, living with the heart of God is the life of the evangelist. In other words, it is the life in which you “walk with God”. What would today and future of person like that be like?
2) Find God’s hope in everything you are entrusted. Just like the talent parable from Mt.25, make a resolution and challenge to bear fruits twice as large as what you are entrusted. Sometimes your responsibilities seem like they are trivial and you are entrusted of them by chance. Allotment of the remained land in chapters 14 through 19 was actually done by lot. They had an unconditional faith in God’s sovereignty. Believe in God’s sovereignty even when doing the smallest thing (believing that God will allow and provide).
3) Try to put some strength together within your meetings and everywhere you belong (family, region, regional church, work). Take the initiative for oneness, make a resolution to play the role of a peacemaker every time you see conflicts and begin with the smallest thing. Have forum, pray and fight the spiritual battle together, and help one another. It will take place just as much as you lower yourself. That is the Gospel and the heart of Christ. God exalted Him to the highest place (Phi.2:1-11).
3. You must begin realistic preparations for the future.
1) Sometimes, you should learn how successful figures prepared their future even from unbelievers. Read good books as much as you can (general grace). All successful figures read a lot (the reason why there are so many University of Chicago graduates among Nobel Prize winners – fifth president of the school, Robert Maynard Hutchins urged students to read at least hundred books).
2) Break your paradigm. Without making bold attempts to throw off your opinion, experience, tenacity, and paradigm, you can never meet the new age. Why do most of conflicts, resentments, and unbelief, which are most common failure factors, come? People cannot break free from their own paradigms (When an egg hatches, both the chick and the mother bird have to break the shell from inside and outside.
3) Your preparation to pass on the good things to your descendants – We will talk about Caleb next week, who is a role model of this. What your struggling over, challenging, and seeing now determine the future of your descendants (remain in the brain and cells). Did Jacob really believe that Joseph was alive? He would have really believed that he was alive somewhere and sincerely prayed (Ge.46:30).
God has perfectly prepared your future, and He wants you to prepare dreaming of that future. There are still very large areas of land (blessings, answers, and inheritance) for you to take over. That is the age of RUTC. I bless and hope that you may enjoy victory today as you prepare for the future.