“So Joshua said to the Israelites: ‘How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?'” (Joshua 18:3)
There are times in my life when I drag my feet, reluctant to obey what God is calling me to do. Do you ever find yourself in the same situation?
In Chapter 18 we begin to see the division of the land to the remaining seven Israelite tribes who had yet to receive their inheritance. The whole assembly gathered at Shiloh, where Joshua cast lots (a common Hebrew practice at the time) to show that God was behind the land assignments, and not Joshua or anyone else. God had already walked before them to the land He was calling them.
Here Joshua reprimands some of the remaining tribes for not completing the task of possessing the land. There could have been various reasons for the delay, including complacency, laziness, weariness, and reluctance to continue warfare. They were in the most comfortable position they had been in for a long time, and it was likely easier for them to remain where they were than to trudge forward, despite knowing that the Lord had something better in store for them.
As my relationship with Jesus grows, it becomes easier to respond to His calling, but I admit that I still have a long way to go. There are times when fear, lack of confidence, baggage from past mistakes and sin, or distractions in general, get in the way. I’m no different than those Israelites who hesitated to possess the land He had already given them. At the same time, God calls me to find my confidence and hope in Him.
Is there something God’s been calling you to do that you’ve been putting off? Perhaps committing time to praying and reading the Bible more? Joining a regular accountability or discipleship group? Leading devotional time with your family? Serving in a ministry? Giving sacrificially of your finances? Loving on someone you don’t get along with? Apologizing to or forgiving someone? Sharing the gospel with that person who’s been on your heart?
Whatever it is, I’m reminded that when we step out in faith, it is God who strengthens and empowers us through His Spirit, to do whatever He calls us to. It’s not up to us to change what happens in the spiritual realm, but it IS up to us to respond and obey in the natural. When the Lord begins a good work in us, it is He who will carry it on to completion (Philippians 3:6). We must simply obey.
Will we procrastinate and let complacency and fear hold us back, or will we proclaim that Jesus is our Lord and move forward in confidence, knowing that “we can do all this through Christ who strengthens me”? (Philippians 4:13)
As God challenges me with this passage today, I likewise pass the challenge on to you. Like the tribes of Israel, there are certain “pieces of land” that God has designated for you to move into, certain things that He has set aside for you to accomplish.
How long will you wait?