Moses the servant of God has died and God now charges Joshua with the task of leading the people of Israel into the promised land. The land had been promised generations ago and it was now time to take possession.
Joshua 1: 3 & 4 records the scope of the promised land ‘Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you….from the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river…land of the Hittites…the Great Sea…will be your territory.’ In modern-day terms from Egypt to Iraq, a vast territory.
God gave His people much more than they enjoyed, settling for less than what was fully theirs. Whatever their excuse, sin, or lack of faith, the fact is there was so much more to enjoy than what became their reality.
How often as God’s people today, do you and I settle for less than what God has given us, not just promised, but given? However, there is might I say, an important component for success which was given to them generations earlier.
Joshua 1 verse 7 rifle’s in on the singular key for success ‘…be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.’ The message is the same to us, great blessings have been given to us, but the ‘how’ of making it a reality is not entirely up to you, it is up to God acting on behalf of His obedient children.
The problem we often have lies in our understanding of being ‘given’ something. We understand possession of an item, as having complete and total access to it, like buying a house. I have possession of it therefore I can do whatever I wish with it. To us, it is counter-intuitive to have been given something but not have access to it.
The problem gets even worse because what we consider as being blessed frequently means having ‘stuff’. However, this is not necessarily so when God blesses us. For example when we read Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church where he says to them in chapter 1 verse 3 ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.’ If you like me when I read that verse I said quietly in my head ‘okay, well I don’t understand what that all means so… next verse’.
But being blessed by God is contained in the relationship He wants to have with us. It is about the communication, prayer, the questions, the deepening of the understanding between us and Him which is most important. It is a relationship in Christ, based on faith and grounded in the scriptures.
Everything which happens to us, from God’s perspective, is centered around and geared to bring us closer in relationship with Him. In Christ, the spiritual blessings which Paul speaks about derives their origin in the Greek word ‘eulogeo’ meaning to bless, to speak well of, from which we get the word ‘eulogy’. Hence spiritual blessings are the good things that God speaks/acts on our behalf because of our relationship with Him.
Consider Job 1:8, where we get a rare glimpse of a conversation in the heavenlies and God speaking good of Job: ‘And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”
What an amazing statement to be said of a man, by God! Here God is eulogizing Job! He is speaking well about Job!
These are spiritual blessings in heavenly places! What an awesome thought of God speaking well, even boasting in the heavenlies about us!
The conversations recorded between Job and God, speaks to us almost like no other about the relationship man can have with God. The scripture records at the end of the book, that the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning!
Israel’s taking of the land was dependent on obedience and the relationship with Him, not the reliance on human skill or military tactics. So too is our most lasting blessing, our relationship with God, in and through Christ.