FAITH TO ENTER GODS PROMISES

Start Possessing Your Inheritance

Joshua 17-19

Jerry A Collins

4/24/05

SCC

 

*               Are you complaining about where God has placed you in life?

*               How determined are you to move forward in faith?

*               Is humility characteristic of the way you manage your life?

 

By far, the most disappointing thing in ministry is people either slow or hesitant in getting started in possessing their inheritancethat is, in developing their calling, their gifts, their abilities and their opportunities. This reticence is most likely a major reason why the NT constantly exhorts us to pursue a worthy walk with God (Eph 4:1). It is too easy to fall awayto become preoccupied with other pursuits or to procrastinate with what it is God wants for us. The reason we can become sideliners is because what God calls us to is (1) Demanding. The life of a disciple means that ones whole life must be given attention to whole-hearted devotion to the Lord. (2) It is costly. There will be a price to pay for this. The demands of discipleship will require me to sacrifice and not indulge. (3) Its other side of the grave living. I must be willing to postpone reward. There will be little of it here. In our passage 2 problems are confronted during settlement in the land. One has to do with complaint and the other with procrastination. Then 2 faith responses counter these problems. One is a determined faith and the other a humble faith. Each of these pairs of responses teach us of 2 kinds of peoplethose who are reticent to possess all God has for them and those who are determined to take possession of it.

1. WE MUST BE DETERMINED TO POSSESS ALL GOD HAS FOR US

In 17:3-6 is the story of the faith of the 5 daughters of Zelophehad (Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, Tirzah). This is the second time this group is mentioned in Bible. The first is in Nem 27:2-8. Because their father had died without sons, they appealed to Moses and requested that inheritance be passed onto the daughters. In the nation it was always the sons who inherited property from the father. Moses took their case to the Lord and God told Moses to change the property laws of the nation not only for these daughters but for other woman in similar circumstances. Now over 20 yrs later these women approach Joshua and remind him of that decision. He assures them that they will get the inheritance. This is similar to Calebs daughter, Achsah, requesting land and receiving it (15:17-19). (1) God wants all of us, men and women, to pursue our possessionsthe fullness, richness and completeness of our calling in Christ. With boldness they were not fearful of doing that. That worthy walk includes being conformed to Christs imagebuilding the kingdom of Godframed by our physical situationblooming where we are plantedtuned to our personalityconsiders our talents & spiritual giftsincludes our Godly desiresoutlined by our opportunitiesexpanded by our convictionssensitive to whats going on in our generationlooks for opportunities to serve God! (2) God wants all of us, men and women, to develop the depth of whatever you have been given. Let God be in charge of the breadth of what you are givenmore people, more talents, more gifts. You must work out your salvation with fear and tremblingyour must walk in a manner worthy of your calling.

2. COMPLAINT WILL HINDER YOU POSSESSING YOUR CALL

An amazing contrast here between determination of the daughters and the self centered complaining of the sons of Joseph 14-18. They felt their allotment of land was too small for their numerous population. That God had not given them enough room. Joshua firmly tells them to clear the land they already possess and there will be plenty vs 15. Note 2 things in their response that Joseph really struggling with: (1) Not interested in clearing the landheavily forested country will require hard physical labor. By the way, this is exactly the same thing Caleb & Josh both had to do for their land. (2) They are fearful of the Canaanites in their territory. Perizzites mentioned by Josh as are the Rephaim giants. So they do not want to try and conquer the territory allotted to them. They do not want to work and they do not want to fite. If they are so special, now is great opportunity to show it Josh says. Let them do what Caleb didgo up into the hills and claim their land-defeat the giants and expand their territory. They do not have to go outside their allotment to do it either. But will necessitate discipline, faith, determination. Josh tells them they can do it. We should never complain about our circumstances. Quit complaining about your lot in life. God determines that. Instead, when you bare strong, use your strength to drive out the things in your life that will cause you to sin. Dont hesitate and complain. It requires courageous faith to possess Gods upon your life. And your circumstances and opportunities no matter how threatening are a part of that. If you allow fear and complaint to enter into your spirit, you will hesitate and hold yourself back from where God would have you to go in faith. You will miss out on possessing Gods calling upon your life.

3. MAKE PLANS TO OVERCOME RETICENCE TO POSSESS CALL

The last 7 tribes had not even begun to possess their possessions. It took some time for the people to assemble themselves in a new center of the land in Shiloh and some time had elapsed since first 5 tribes possessed their land & were still without homelandcontinuing nomadic existence as in the wilderness not eager to claim their territory. This provoked Josh vs 3 to prod them into action with a plan to get them started. Actually, these tribes were unwilling to engage in the difficult struggle to possess their territories. They should have initiated the whole process so Josh sends out surveyors to determine how the territory should be divided into 7 parcels. When they return, lots are then cast to determine which tribe receives which parcel. The allotments were made beginning with Benjamin and ending with Dan. What should you do with someone who says he or she wants to follow Christ but never seems to get started? They will need encouragement and exhortation but we will also need to start them on a program that gives them a specific plan for studying the Bible. This reticence to pursue Gods calling may happen because it will mean self-denial or sacrificing some sinful habit pattern. Like Joshua, make plans, specific ones, to begin.

4. GODS CALLING APPREHENDED WITH HUMILITY

If possessing your possessions then must have confident conviction that God is in charge and takes initiative with us. Joshua waits until everyone else in Israel has claimed his inheritance before he claims his own. Like Abe who let Lot chose first, Josh is willing to wait and trust God to supply his portion. In vs 50 he wants a city lying in ruins, needing to be rebuilt. He took his own advice, conquered, took possession, and settled in. Dont desire to be first, but instead work hard at being last! God notices the stragglers. For instance, dont be jealous or regretful if you have an abundance of something like ministry and God gives some of it away to others. That way you respond with humility to Gods calling for your life. When you humbly serve Gods calling upon you, then you can afford to be magnanimous. Since God is in charge of meeting your needs you can give yourself away to others.

(1) If you are going to determine to pursue Gods calling upon your life, then make sure you have no rivals to it. (2) You can never afford the luxury of complaining when you pursue Gods call upon your life.

(3) Set up a plan that keeps you studying Gods Word so you can stay on track with Gods calling for you. (4) Remember that God always has your best interests at heart so you can humbly trust Him with your life.