Have you ever wanted something so badly that you wait for it and wait for it and then when the time finally comes to get it, you drag your feet?
The Israelites did that.
For 40+ years they trekked back and forth through the desert, around this mountain and that mountain, up and down and back again. Imagine spending 40 years touring a dried up piece of real estate not even the size of West Virginia.
They did that.
And during all that time, the Israelites dreamed of the land promised to them by God decades before – a “land flowing with milk and honey,” a verdant land of tall, shady cypress trees, of juicy purple grapes the size of golf balls, and vast, golden fields of wheat waving in the breeze as far as the eye could see. And water – cold, clear, flowing streams of water wherever one might wander . . .
Night and day for 40 years the Israelites thought about that promised land, they talked about it, and they dreamed about it. And then finally the day came when God directed them to enter. But they didn’t. They were afraid. And that’s when Joshua, their leader, posed an interesting question:
“’How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?’” (Jos. 18:3)
That’s a fascinating question – perhaps one we all need to examine. How long will we wait until we take possession of the Promised Land that God has vowed to give to each of us?
I don’t know. Until God hand delivers our dreams to our front door? Odds are that’s not going to happen.
To “take possession” of the land is not a passive activity; it requires something of us – and it’s not sitting on our padded portions waiting for it to appear. At the very least, as we sit at the yellow light of our dreams waiting for that signal to turn green, some preparation – whatever form that might take – should probably be happening.
Waiting for that dream job? Buy the proper clothing and arrange transportation. Get the resume ready and hit the pavement. Waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right? Get out of debt. Lose five pounds. Practice patience and giving and civil conversation. Did I mention patience? Waiting for that business to turn a hefty profit? Invest in it; research what the competition is doing and do it better; advertise in places you haven’t before; get innovative; give.
Are you ready for day one on the job? Are you ready to walk down the aisle? Are you ready to handle a huge bankroll?
Did the Israelites sit and wait for the Hittites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites and the Anakites and the rest of the ites to pack up and move out so they could move in and take over? No. The Israelites said their prayers, sharpened their swords, designed their strategies, and moved in and forced them out. And that was the least of what they did. Mostly they just killed them.
Unless God said otherwise, Israel took no prisoners and spared no cities or even animals. In short, they never compromised, and they never surrendered.
While I’m not suggesting that we kidnap a prospective spouse, burn out a competitor, or loot a bank for capital, I am proposing that in light of God’s admonition to us to “take possession of the land,” we never comprise and we never surrender.
Are you awaiting permission to go out and appropriate the promises God has made to you?