While reading some verses with my youngest this morning, we came across Deuteronomy 31:7. It says, “And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.”
HCSB puts it this way, “Moses then summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you will go with this people into the land the LORD swore unto their fathers. You will enable them to take possession of it.”
In both translations we see that Moses told Joshua that in order for the Israelites to take possession of the inheritance that God had provided for them, he must enable them, “cause them” to receive it. He was also told that he couldn’t just point the way. He had to go with them.
Can you imagine receiving that information? You know these people. You love them. They are your family, but you KNOW these people. You know their worries. You know their tendencies. You know that inheriting the land is impossible without God and now you know that without your co-operation, the dream that God has for them is not happening. Whoa! That kind of pressure must be some kind of scary. That kind of burden is what drives a man to his knees and that is exactly what we see Joshua doing over and over again. That’s why I think God chose Him. Joshua knew inheriting the land was impossible without God. He knew leading these people without killing them was impossible as well. (Sorry if that’s a little too blunt.)
As my son and I read through this verse, I was hit with these questions:
-What land am I leading people to inherit? Is it a land with milk and honey, or a trash heap?
-What group of individuals will not receive their inheritance if I give up on them?
-Who am I being asked to stand for in the gap?
These were staggering questions for me. I had never allowed myself to think that I was impossible to replace. I don’t mean that in an egotistical way. I mean it in a way that made me realize my responsibility to God’s plan. I mean it in the way that God told Moses the children of Israel’s inheritance would only come through Joshua. He would be the one to enable them to receive the blessing. If Joshua had said, “no”, how much longer would the Israelites have wandered? How many more would have died not receiving the Promise? God had created Joshua for that task. He was to enable them to take possession of the land and he had to commit to being with them every step of the way. He couldn’t just point. He had to be in the trenches, getting messy, doing life with the people God had called him to and strengthening the arms of those who had grown weary.
Words cannot describe how convicting this is for me. In all honesty, there are some days when I want to totally walk away from a group of people that God has called me to lead into their Promised Land. I want to turn my back and find a group that actually like me and understand who I am. But you know what? God wants me on my knees knowing that anything good, any step in the right direction is His doing and NOTHING is due to my own ingenuity. He wants me digging ditches, not just pointing my finger to what “those people” should be doing. He wants me to pick up trash and hand out clothes. He doesn’t just want me to congratulate people when they’ve done a good job. He wants me to lead these precious saints to the inheritance that God has for them here on this earth. He wants me to go with them, enabling them to receive their greatest blessings.
Over the next few weeks, as I find myself looking around in judgment condemning those around me for not being where they should be, I am praying to God that He will convict me to look inward. I am going to ask God to show me if I am the reason this group has not received their blessings. Am I the reason that they have not received their inheritance? Am I the reason that they are still wandering in the wilderness and have not crossed over into their Promised Land? As I pray for discernment, I might learn that it is God’s time for these people to receive their Promise and it might just be up to me to get them there.
Lord God, You really blew my mind this morning. I pray that I can hear You clearly. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. Keep me on my knees physically and mentally. I love You, Lord, but help me to love You more. In Jesus’ Name I pray.
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