No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Joshua 1:5
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing .... God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:2-4, 12
In the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as, "A people for God's own possession." The nation of Israel began with Abraham. Abraham was called by God to serve him and God spoke to him and said, "Go forth from your country (Ur of the Chaldeans) to a land (the promised land of Canaan) I will show you. I will give you this land to possess it." God further promised that he would bring forth a great nation from Abraham's descendants and that through them the whole world would be blessed. Abraham obeyed God and "went out" from the old and "went into" the new. So, Abraham and Sarah are in the promised land, but they are just two people and far from being a great nation. But soon there is Isaac and from him comes Jacob and from Jacob come 12 sons.
When they are but a small clan of about 70 people, God removes Israel from Canaan (promised land) and brings them to Egypt where he builds them into a great nation numerically over a period of about 400 years. At this time God raises up Moses to bring them out of Egypt and back to the promised land of Canaan. While there is a great quantity of people who come out of Egypt, there is still a lot of Egypt in the people. It is God's plan to make them into a great nation both in terms of quantity and quality so that Israel will truly be "A people for God's own possession." Through Moses, while they are in the wilderness, God shows them in great detail what it will mean for them to be "A people for God's own possession."
It is in the promised land that God intends to do this great work in its fullness, but as we have already seen the nation of Israel, under Moses, was not willing to enter. Now, 40 years later, the nation of Israel is poised to enter the promised land under the leadership of Joshua. We must realize what mighty tasks await Joshua. He must motivate the nation of Israel to be willing to go in and conquer an inhabited land. He must mobilize them into a company of people who are able succeed at actually leaving the wilderness, at actually going into the land and conquering it, and at actually possessing the land in ways that line up with all that God has called them to.
We have taken the time to go over these things today so that we are able to grasp fully the promises of Joshua 1:5 above. God made three promises to Joshua: (1) No one will be able to stand against you; (2) I will be with you; and (3) I will not fail you or abandon you. Can you imagine being in Joshua's position and what these words would mean to you? God's calling is upon each of our lives and as we seek to fulfill our calling we will face many obstacles and the trials and struggles that come from them. The 2 Corinthians and James passages above remind us that these things are a strategic part of his plan and that he uses them to strengthen our faith, help us to grow, and prepare us for glory. Take some time to reflect on the tough things you are facing in your life and consider how God is at work using them in your life in these ways.
Lord, help me value the trials in my life the way you do. Deliver me from wanting to get beyond my struggles more than I want you to use them beneficially in my life. Lord, I choose to embrace them today as I seek to serve you so that the benefits to my faith, growth, and future glory will unfold as fully as possible.
Posted on Wed, June 10, 2015
by Alan Porter