Don't Get Stuck in the Land of Almost
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Do you ever buy new technology thinking, "This is it the ultimate! There's no way anyone can improve on this design!" That's how I used to feel about my VHS player. Led by this delusional thinking, my husband and I decided to fulfill our goal as "trekkies" (aka, Star Trek fans). Years ago, we signed up to buy the entire set of Star Trek and Star Trek the Next Generation on VHS tapes. Every month we faithfully made our $28 dollar payment to receive two new episodes. What a thrill to watch our collection grow! Now we're stuck with two boxes of Star Trek videos that no one wants.
Don't you hate getting stuck? I think as Christians we can find ourselves spiritually stuck too.
Just like the Israelites, how many Christians get stuck in the wilderness or even on the edge of their promised land?
A sad place to get stuck is when you've "almost" taken possession of your promised land. Untold miracles happened along a time-consuming journey and you have gloriously stepped into your promised land. God gives you not just a glimpse, but also a panoramic view of this beloved land. It would be tempting to stop here at the edge. You've safely left slavery behind, the wilderness is now history, and there's no need for the manna and quail anymore.
Unfortunately, living on the edge of the Promised Land still leaves you lacking. God told Joshua,
"Everywhere you go, you will be on the land I have given you"(paraphrase and emphasis mine).
The Israelites needed to physically step on the ground in order to claim the land as their own.
With each small victory, tremendous spoils of war awaited them. The Bible said they would harvest food they didn't plant and live in houses they didn't build. Pretty good deal!
But the temptation to stay in the land of "almost" was great for some of the tribes. Partial victory is better than no victory at all, right?
Wrong! In the land of "almost," several enemies are always at your borders:
1) Lack. You're not walking in the full provision of God. You can pay your bills, but there is nothing left over.
2) Fear. You don't trust God fully. The risk seems too great to fully obey Him.
3) Sin. You learn to be comfortable living with your enemy. You let sin take root in your home and expose your children to this danger.
Joshua never got stuck in the land of "almost." The book of Joshua records no lag time between battles. If you quickly scan the book, you'll see repeated phrases like "Joshua conquered," "Joshua slaughtered," "Joshua traveled," "Joshua built," "Joshua continued."
Talk about a list of active verbs! What a picture of someone moving forward! In only seven years, Joshua defeated 31 kings! Israel gained control of the Promised Land. Joshua instructed each tribe to clear out any remaining enemies in their territories.
But some tribes got stuck in their "almost" promised land. Joshua asked them,
"How long are you going to wait before taking possession of the remaining land the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has given to you?"(NLT)
Today, God asks you the same question. Go and take possession of what is already yours.
Copyright Lori Stewart © 2012, printed with permission.
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