Summary: Certain conditions that must be fulfilled by God’s people if they are to experience blessing
Chapter 1 – Fundamental Conditions Of Blessing
Last week as we began our studies of the book of Joshua we focused our thoughts particularly upon the way in which God for many years had been preparing Joshua for the work to which He was to call him, namely the work of leading the people of God into the actual possession of their Inheritance which God had promised to them.
The scene before us as we come to study chapter 1 is that of God’s people standing once again on the border of Canaan staring out across the Jordan, observing the glorious inheritance which lay before them. An inheritance which God had given them. An inheritance which they owned, but which as yet they had not actually taken possession of and enjoyed. It had been theirs 40 years earlier, but their unbelief, their fear, their lack of willingness to trust God and step out in faith and obedience resulted in that particular generation of God’s people forfeiting the opportunity of enjoying the blessings that God had set before them. Instead of living in the enjoyment of the fullness of the blessing of God, they wandered for forty years in the wilderness. It was not what God had wanted for them. It was far removed from the sort of life they should have and could have been living.
Now the opportunity of laying hold of and possessing their inheritance was once again before them. The question was would they go in and possess it. Reading through the narrative in Joshua 1 we discover several fundamental conditions that had to be fulfilled by both the leader and the people if they were to succeed where the former generation had failed. And I want us to consider those conditions this evening.
But I don’t want us to consider these things merely as an academic exercise aimed at informing our minds about something that happened over 4,000 years ago I want us to see the relevance of these things to us the people of God today.
God has given us, his redeemed people, a rich and glorious spiritual inheritance in Christ. His desire is that we His people, individually and collectively, would enter into and enjoy all the blessings which are already ours in Christ. Our being chosen in and redeemed by Christ, our title to and assurance of eternal life, these are undoubtedly important parts of our Spiritual inheritance, but important as they are, they do not constitute the totality of our inheritance. There is more, much, much more besides. On a personal level there is the entering into the experience and enjoyment of living the Christian life as God intends it to be lived; There is the joy of getting victory over sin in our life, of having the peace of God reigning in our hearts; of living in the assurance that we are indeed God’s beloved and redeemed people; Of growing closer to Christ and becoming more like Christ. There is the joy of being able to witness for Christ and seeing others through our witness being united to Christ. Then on a corporate level as a Church there is the joy of making very real inroads into what is currently the enemy controlled territory around us in our community and tearing down Satan’s strongholds.
We have a glorious spiritual inheritance, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, and God intends that we should actually take possession of these blessings. That all that he has given us in Christ and all that he holds out to us in Christ should become a reality in our own individual experience and in our experience as a corporate body of God’s people.
The problem is that far too often like the Children of Israel of old we, as individual Christians and we as Churches fail to appropriate, fail to take possession of and hence fail to experience and enjoy those spiritual blessings that are ours. Our spiritual lives and our spiritual experience are more often than not far removed from what they should be and could be and that for the very same reasons that kept the children of Israel back from possessing and enjoying their inheritance – fear, unbelief, lack of faith, disobedience and an unwillingness to go forward with God.
Israel failed in the past, but God in grace gave them a further opportunity to posses and enjoy their spiritual inheritance. God as it were is saying to them, ‘look, 40 years ago you had the opportunity of experiencing the blessings I wanted to give you. You fluffed it then, you wasted that opportunity and missed out on the blessing. I am giving you another chance. I am setting before you once again the possibility of blessing. It’s up to you whether or not you are going to lay hold of this blessing.’