“These are the inheritances that Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the people of Israel distributed by lot at Shiloh before the LORD, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land.”
They finished dividing the land
Hundreds of years have passed since God made His promises to Abraham. We get the privilege of reading this testimony of God’s faithfulness as it unfolds. Too bad Abraham didn’t get to read what we are reading! Having the promise of an inheritance in Canaan and of an offspring as numerous as the dust of the earth, he believed God without receiving the outcome. He “died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar;” Hebrews 11:13.
- Romans 4:18-21 “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
Abraham looked forward to that which was unseen. His faith, we’re told, was reckoned to His account as righteousness. The Lord considered Abraham to be a righteous man because he took God at His word and trusted Him as able to do that which He promised.
We have received promises like Abraham did. With some of the promises we even have their fulfillments written down for us in the book of Revelation. Having witnessed the Lord’s faithfulness to Abraham, and having every reason to believe He is both faithful and able to carry out His promises to us, let us also grow strong in faith.
We have the promise of Jesus’ continual guidance and presence on this earth
- Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'”
- Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Psalms 48:14 “This is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”
- Matthew 28:20b “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We have the promise of Jesus’ return
- John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
We have the promise of Jesus’ kingdom
- Luke 12:32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
- Hebrews 12:28 “Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”
- James 2:5 “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?”
- 1Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
We have the promise of being brought into Jesus’ presence for all eternity
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
- Revelation 21:3-5 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'”
- Revelation 21:22-23 “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
- Revelation 22:3-6 “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. And he said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true.'”
I have only mentioned a fraction of His promises and a fraction of the verses concerning the fraction of promises I mentioned! How overwhelming does the Lord need to convince us before we believe in Him wholeheartedly?
- 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
“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.”
They did not drive out the Canaanites
The Lord had promised the children of Israel that He would drive out the inhabitants of the land. Even just 3 chapters earlier, the Lord told Joshua, “I myself will drive them out from before the people of Israel.” Yet, for all that, the Canaanites remained in the land.
- Joshua 15:63 “But the Jebusites, 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 17:12-13 “Yet the people of Manasseh could not take possession of those cities, but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land. Now when the people of Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out.”
So the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day
Though the Lord promised to drive the Canaanites out from before Israel, they remained. Was it God who was unfaithful? Is it the Lord who is not strong? No, Israel was not willing to fight. God promised to give them victory, God promised to go before them in battle, but Israel folded his arms and refused to fight. So, the Canaanites remained in the land.
We also are in the midst of a battle. We war against the lusts of our flesh. Yet “though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds;” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4.
We wage a spiritual, internal war.
- 1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
- Romans 7:23 “I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”
- Galatians 5:17 “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
- James 4:1 “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”
We’ve been born-again to living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because He lives, we live. Our old self was crucified with Christ. Unfortunately, it still rears itself up again and fights against us. The question is, how long will we put off claiming the victory that is ours in Christ? As Joshua said to Ephraim, “How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?” Joshua 18:3.
We are not told, “do away with most of your sin,” but to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God;” 2 Corinthians 7:1. Do I mean to say we will obtain perfection on this earth? No; perfection will come when Christ brings us into His presence. But we ought not go on in our Christian walk ignoring the battle around us, pretending we don’t see it, and acting as if we have no strength to fight.
Stand up! Be strong! Act like men! Get up and fight. The Lord is with you. He has given you His Holy Spirit to produce His fruit within you and to give you the power to put to death the deeds of your flesh. He has promised to give you victory in this spiritual battle we wage. It is your decision whether or not you will claim it.
- 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
- Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints….”