Unfinished Business: There Is Still So Much That Needs to be Done

Today’s selected reading continues and concludes the Old Testament book of Numbers which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters thirty-four and thirty-six of this Old Testament book. JOURNEYS AND BOUNDARIES! TRAVELS AND BORDERS! INHERITANCE EAST OF JORDAN! INHERITANCE WEST OF JORDAN! THE INHERITANCE OF THE LEVITES! CITIES OF REFUGE! INHERITANCE MUST REMAIN WITH THOSE TO WHOM IT HAS BEEN GIVEN! INHERITANCE CANNOT BE TRANSFERRED! AND THEIR INHERITANCE REMAINEDIN THE TRIBE OF THE FAMILY OF THEIR FATHER! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find and discover the LORD once more speaking unto Moses—this time concerning the actual borders and boundaries of the land which was to be given unto the children and people of Israel. If there is one thing we must recognize and consider concerning the inheritance that was to be given unto the congregation of the children of Israel it’s that the inheritance was not only to be divided between the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, but each portion of the inheritance had its own borders and boundaries within the inheritance. It’s quite unique and rather remarkable to consider the fact that any conversation concerning and regarding the inheritance of the children of Israel must not only include a conversation regarding the individual borders of each tribe within the land, but also the borders of the land itself. Any discussion concerning the inheritance which was given unto the congregation and children of Israel must have at the very heart of it the reality of possession through conquest, but also division through lot. The inheritance was more than simply a land which the living God would bring the congregation of the children of Israel into and that was it, for the living God would not allow them to enter into the land without order and structure. If and as you consider the realities concerning the inheritance given unto the children of Israel you will find that the LORD would and could not allow them to enter into the land and allow them to engage in a free for all in the midst of the land. Pause and consider if you will what would and could have happened had the LORD brought the congregation of the children of Israel across and over the Jordan River and then allowed them simply do as they pleased, and do as they wished in the midst of the land. Consider the tremendous chaos that perhaps would have ensued in the midst of the land had the nine and a half tribes which were to have a possession in the land were able to enter in and do as they pleased.

THE ORDER AND STRUCTURE OF INHERITANCE! As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated by the fact that the congregation of the children of Israel were indeed promised the land which was to be given unto them according to the word spoken unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, however, the inheritance was so much more than simply a piece of land among the nations they could enter into and inhabit. The inheritance which the children of Israel would enter into would in fact be that which was given unto them, however, before they ever stepped foot into the land they were given clear instruction concerning the borders and boundaries of that land. The LORD God of the Hebrews was clearly defining the inheritance that was to be given unto the congregation and children of Israel, and was teaching them the scope of what He had indeed and what He had in fact given unto them. I find it to be absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that even before the LORD would bring the congregation of the children of Israel into the land which was sworn unto them, they would have a clear understanding concerning what that inheritance would look like. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the thirty-fourth chapter of the book of Numbers you will find the Lord God of the Hebrews speaking unto Moses and giving him the borders and boundaries of the land of Canaan which was to be given unto the congregation and children of Israel. In order to truly understand that which the LORD spoke unto Moses concerning the borders and boundaries of the inheritance that was to be given unto the congregation of the children of Israel, it’s first necessary to turn and direct your attention to the final verses of the previous chapter. If and as you begin reading with and from the fiftieth verse of the thirty-third chapter you will quickly encounter a very specific word and instruction that was given unto the children of Israel—even before they entered into the land that was to be theirs as an inheritance. Consider if you will the following words which are found within this chapter beginning with the fiftieth verse and continuing through to the final verse:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: and ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them” (Numbers 33:50-56).

Within the words that are found in these verses you are brought face to face with a very specific command and instruction given by the Lord unto the congregation of the children of Israel. What makes the words which are found in these verses so incredibly unique is the direct link and connection between conquering and subduing the land, and the dividing of the land among the twelve tribes of the congregation of the children of Israel. If you think about and consider the inheritance which was to be given unto the congregation of the children of Israel you must understand the strong link and connection between the dividing of the land and the subduing of the land, for the one is directly contingent upon the other. The instruction which the LORD God of the Hebrews gave unto the children of Israel not only touched upon conquering and subduing the land, but also upon the need to drive out both the inhabitants of the land, as well as destroying all traces of idolatry and immorality within the land. When you think about the land of Canaan as an inheritance for the people of Israel you must understand that inheritance was more than simply taking possession of the land, but it was also about dividing and sharing the land with brothers and sisters, as well as purging the land of the idolatrous worship and pagan practices which present within the land—those practices which were the main and underlying reason the Lord was driving them out and dispossessing them. DRIVE OUT, DESTROY, DISPOSSESS! As you read the words which are found within these chapters you will notice three distinct assignments that were given unto the congregation of the children of Israel concerning the land. We must recognize and understand these assignments, for when thinking about and considering the land which was given unto them as an inheritance and possession, it is also necessary to understand that with the land came responsibility and assignment. Please don’t miss this fact, for there are those among us who think and believe they can have inheritance absent any type of assignment and responsibility. There are those among us who think and believe that they can enter into the inheritance the living God has for them, and that they can simply enjoy the inheritance as it is, and yet the truth of the matter is this simply isn’t the case. There have been many men and women who have been deceived into thinking and believing that the reality of inheritance is simply a matter of crossing over the Jordan, entering into the land, and beginning to inhabit and dwell within it. I would dare say there have been many men and women among us in our churches who have been misled and misguided into thinking and believing that inheritance is simply a matter of entering and enjoying, and that there isn’t anything that is required of and from them.

Upon reading the words which are written and recorded within the final verses of the thirty-third chapter of this Old Testament book you will be directly confronted with the fact that inheritance has never been, nor will it ever be without assignment and responsibility. Despite the fact that the congregation of the children of Israel were in fact promised the land of Canaan, and were in fact given this land as a promise unto them, they weren’t able to simply enter into the land and immediately begin enjoying its fruit and all it had to offer. I can’t help but think of how many men and women among us in our churches and houses of worship today are promised a wonderful inheritance from and before the living God, and they are given this false reality and false mindset that inheritance is something that would and could be instantaneously and immediately enjoyed. There are men and women among us in our houses of worship who have been deceived into thinking and believing that all they need to do is cross over their Jordan River and enter into the land which was promised unto them, and that is the only thing that is required and expected of them. The congregation of the children of Israel were given the land of Canaan as an inheritance and possession, however, that inheritance and possession would not come absent any type of responsibility on their end. With the words the living God spoke unto Moses the servant of the Lord the congregation of the children of Israel were given the command to drive out all the inhabitants of the land, to destroy all their pictures and all their molten images, and dispossess the inhabitants of the land. Even though the congregation of the children of Israel were able to cross and pass over the Jordan River and enter into the land, there was still much work that needed to be done before they could begin to enjoy the fruit and provision of the land. What’s more, is that even after they entered into the land they could not enjoy and experience the rest that came with that land without also at the same time accepting the responsibility that was directly linked to the land. There is a common misconception among many within the body of Christ that inheritance is solely about entering into that which the living God has prepared for us, and there is absolutely no responsibility, nor is there any assignment that is connected to it. There are many among us who want to have inheritance absent responsibility and absent any type of work and labor that needs to be done, and the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case.

I can’t help but think about the analogy of a farmer who wants to bring forth a harvest and bring forth a crop, and how any farmer doesn’t immediately and automatically bring forth a harvest absent and without any type of preparatory work. Any farmer who wishes to bring forth a harvest of the field must spend countless hours tilling the land and making the soil ready for them to begin sowing the seed in the ground. If you think about farming and bringing the harvest in from the field you must consider the fact that there is no farmer who would automatically begin sowing seed into the ground expecting a harvest to spring forth from the midst of it. If a farmer expects to receive a harvest and had an abundance of seed in his possession the farmer first needs to till the ground and prepare the soil before the seed could even be sown into the ground. The parable which Jesus spoke concerning the four different types of soil immediately come to mind when I consider this reality, for within that parable we find a single farmer sowing seed into four different places, yet the seed that was sown only truly produced a harvest in those places where the soil was itself good. If we are to truly understand and recognize this concept of preparing the soil and sowing in the field expecting a harvest it is necessary that we consider this parable which was spoken by Jesus—a parable which is recorded in the New Testament narrative and gospel which was written by the apostle Matthew. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the thirteenth chapter beginning with the first verse of the chapter:

“The same day went Jesus out of the house, and say by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And He spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to ear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? HE answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I unto them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That man prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” Matthew 13:1-23).

If you read the words which are found within this passage you will get the strong sense that there was a single farmer who sowed seed in different places, however, of the four places he sowed his seed—only one actually produced a harvest and yielded fruit. This parable is necessary for our understanding concerning the work which needs to be done before expecting a harvest, for before seed can and should be sown in the ground the farmer must first survey the ground, as well as the soil, and then begin going to work on the soil itself to ensure that it produces and brings forth a harvest. Just as a farmer would need to survey the ground he is going to be working with, and then till the ground and prepare the soil before he begins sowing seed, so also the congregation of the children of Israel needed to enter into the land of Canaan and carry out specific assignments which were required of the Lord. The Lord would lead them into the land of Canaan, and the Lord would bring them over the Jordan River, however, once they had crossed the Jordan River, and once they were entered into the land, the true work and the real assignment would begin. If you read the words which are found in the final verses of the thirty-third chapter you will find that the land of Canaan—much like the soil a farmer will work with—could and would not bring forth a produce a harvest until and unless the congregation and children of Israel carried out to completion that which the Lord their God asked and required of them. What’s more, is that it was possible for the congregation of the children of Israel to enter into the land of Canaan and to begin inhabiting it, yet if they did not engage themselves in the groundwork of driving out all the inhabitants of the land, the land would and could not have been everything the Lord their God intended and created it to be. If the congregation of the children of Israel did not engage themselves in the task and assignment the living God gave them to destroy all the pictures, all the molten images, and all the high places there within the land it would not have been that which the Lord their God designed and intended it to be. What’s more, is that the congregation of the children of Israel were tasked with dispossessing the inhabitants of the land in order that they might fully inhabit the land and enjoy it the way it was intended to be. Perhaps one of the greatest truths concerning the land of Canaan which the congregation of the children of Israel were to enter is that even though they might very well have crossed over the Jordan River, and even though they might have entered into the land, there was still a tremendous work which needed to be done in the soil of the land in order for it produce and bring forth the full harvest the Lord their God prepared for them.

DRIVE OUT! DESTROY! DISPOSSESS! DIVIDE! These four words must be carefully considered when thinking about the land as an inheritance which the congregation of the children of Israel would take possession of, for in order for the inheritance to be that which the Lord their God designed and purposed it to be, they would need to complete these assignments. I still find it absolutely astonishing that there are those among us who think they can enjoy the inheritance the Lord their God has prepared for them without any responsibility on their part. The more I think about this and the more I consider the truth and reality that there could be no inheritance absent and independent of responsibility and assignment, the more I can’t help but think about and be reminded of the narrative of Adam who was formed of the dust of the ground and created in the image of God. If you turn and direct your attention to the first two chapters of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will not only encounter the creation of man in the image of God, and not only the formation of Adam from the dust of the ground, but you will also discover Adam’s being placed in the garden of Eden which the Lord had prepared and planted for him to enjoy fellowship with Him. It’s interesting and worth noting that the garden of Eden was planted by the living God, and was prepared by Him, and yet the living God took man after forming and creating him, and placed him in the garden to dress and keep it. What’s more, is that you will notice the command that was given to man from the creation was to conquer and subdue the earth—a similar command that was given unto the congregation of the children of Israel when preparing to enter into the land the living God planted and prepared for them. Consider if you will the narrative and account of the first man Adam who was formed in the image of God, and then planted in the garden which the Lord had in fact prepared within the earth:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the flesh of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28).

“These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:5-9).

As you think about and consider the words which are found within the first two chapters of the book of Genesis you will immediately be confronted with and by the fact that when man was formed of the dust of the earth and when the living God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, he became more than simply a living soul. If you truly take the time to read the words that are found within these chapters you will find that when the living God sought to make man in His image and after His likeness, He designer and created him to exercise dominion and authority upon the earth. When you think about and consider the words that are found within these chapters you will find that from the time man was first created by the living God from the dust of the ground outside the garden, he was created with assignment, with purpose and with responsibility. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for when you think about the tremendous line of thinking concerning man when he was first created you will find and discover that man was created to engage in purpose and mission within the earth. Even if and even as you read and study the words found in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find it being mentioned how when the garden was planted in the midst of the earth there was no one to dress the garden, nor was there anyone to care for and look after it. It’s worth noting and considering the awesome and incredible reality that when man was created he was created outside the garden and was then taken and planted in the midst of the garden where he would look after and care for it. It is absolutely necessary to think about and consider this reality, for there is a strong parallel between man being created and formed outside of the garden and being placed inside the garden. What’s more, is there is a strong parallel and a strong connection between man being planted in the garden and being given the tremendous responsibility of looking after the garden and everything that was in it, as well as the congregation of the children of Israel who were essentially formed outside the land of Canaan in the midst of the land of Egypt before they would be delivered from the midst of the land. The congregation of the children of Israel would be brought into the land of Canaan, however—much like Adam who was placed in the garden to look after, care for, and tend it, so also was the congregation of the children of Israel brought into the land of Canaan that they might engage themselves in assignment, in purpose, and in responsibility in the midst of the land.

It would be very easy to think about and consider the fact that the inheritance was simply something the congregation of the children of Israel would enter, and that they would and could immediately begin to enjoy it from the start. There is this common misconception about the inheritance and about the land of the promise, and that line of thinking is that once the children of Israel entered into the land of Canaan they could immediately begin enjoying and experiencing everything the land had to offer. It is incredibly easy to think about inheritance in terms of the promise of God and not consider it in light of the assignment and task which is before us. It was true the congregation of the children of Israel were brought over the Jordan River, and it was true that they would in fact enter into the land of Canaan, however, once they entered into the land of Canaan the mission and assignment would only just begin. Imagine what the congregation of the children of Israel felt and thought as the last one of them passed over the Jordan River and they were finally in the land. THEYRE FINALL IN THE LAND! THEYRE FINALLY HERE! I can’t help but think about what it must have been like as not only did the waters of the Jordan River part before the congregation of the children of Israel, but so also did everyone of the congregation of the children of Israel pass over the Jordan River and enter into the land which was given unto them as an inheritance. It was true the congregation of their children of Israel would enter into the land of Canaan and it was true they would finally—after four hundred and thirty years of slavery and forty years of wandering in the wilderness—enter into the land which was sworn on oath unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, however, passing and crossing over the Jordan River was only just the beginning. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand the reality that when we speak about the land of Canaan, we must think about and consider it in the light of the fact that entrance into the land of Canaan was only the first step which the congregation of the children of Israel would take when it came to the land of Canaan. The question I can’t help but ask when thinking about the reality of the congregation of the children of Israel entering into the land of Canaan, it’s whether or not the inhabitants of the land knew that they were entering into the land to drive them out and dispossess them. We know they reports concerning the congregation of the children of Israel were circulating among the nations and peoples of the earth during that time, and we know that when the time came for the congregation of the children of Israel to enter into the land of Canaan they had already completely overthrown the Midianites, and had even destroyed the Amorites as they defeated Og king of Bashan, as well as Sihon king of Heshbon. Undoubtedly the inhabitants of the land would have heard the report concerning the congregation of the children of Israel, and this is evidenced when you read the account of the inhabitants of Jericho and their reaction to news of this people now having come to and entered into the land.

If you turn and direct your attention to the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua—not only will you find and read how Jericho was tightly shut up because of the congregation of the children of Israel, but also when the two spies spoke with Rahab the harlot there in the midst of the city, she spoke of the tremendous report that was circulating among the nations and peoples concerning the children of Israel. The sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua presents us with a powerful response of the inhabitants of the land as the city of Jericho was perhaps one of the single greatest and single strongest city in the midst of the land. Other than Jerusalem I would have to say that Jericho was the next greatest fortified city that was found within the land, and interestingly enough it would be the first city the children of Israel would march against and conquer after crossing over the Jordan River. It’s worth noting that if you read and consider that which was written concerning the congregation of the children of Israel and their being camped in the plains of Moab you will almost always find it mentioned that where they were in the plains of Moab was opposite of the city of Jericho. I can’t help but wonder if the children of Israel could indeed and could in fact see the city of Jericho from the plains of Moab where they were encamped, and what they perhaps thought when they looked upon the city of Jericho with its walls and gates—walls which were so thick that you could race on top of them. I can’t help but be absolutely and incredibly captivated and gripped by the fact that when the congregation of the children of Israel were encamped in the plains of Moab they were encamped opposite the city of Jericho which would be their first assignment and task in the midst of the land. What’s so intriguing and captivating about Jericho is that when news reached the midst of it that the congregation of the children of Israel had crossed over the Red Sea and had finally entered into the land, they tightly shut up the city so that none could go in and none could go out. The inhabitants of the city of Jericho were so seized and so gripped with fear, and yet instead of marching out against this congregation of the children of Israel, they chose instead to remain within their walls, as undoubtedly they thought and believed they were safe and secure from their advance within the land. Pause for a moment and think about the drastic difference between the inhabitants of Jericho and the people of Og king of Bashan and Sihon king of Heshbon, for both of these kings marched out against the congregation of the children of Israel with much people and with a great force, and undoubtedly thought and assumed they could overtake and overthrow this people that were moving towards the land of Canaan. The inhabitants of Jericho, however, made no such advance, nor did they march toward the congregation of the children of Israel in Attleboro, but instead chose to isolate and secure themselves in the midst of the city with the gates tightly shut up that none could enter and none could exit.

Oh I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely incredible reality concerning the congregation of the children of Israel, and how as they were encamped in the plains of Moab they were preparing to cross over the Jordan River under the command of Joshua, and would once and for all—after forty years of wandering in the wilderness—enter into the land which was promised unto their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It’s necessary that we recognize this absolutely tremendous thought, for even before the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land of Canaan we find their assignment and responsibility within, as well as their responsibility to the land. As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that not only did the congregation of the children of Israel have a responsibility unto themselves to drive out the inhabitants of the land, but they also had a responsibility to the land itself to once and for all drive the inhabitants out which had so polluted and corrupted and defiled it. The more I think about the congregation of the children of Israel the more I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that this congregation of people called and chosen by the living God needed to drive out and dispossess the inhabitants of the land in order that they might truly take possession of and subdue the land, but their was also the tremendous need of the congregation of the children of Israel to drive out the inhabitants of the land for the sake of the land, for the land needed to once and for all be relieved from the inhabitants which had so defiled, corrupted and polluted it throughout the years. Think about how many years, how many decades, how many centuries the inhabitants of the land had defiled, polluted and corrupted the land of Canaan, and how perhaps one of the single greatest assignments given unto the congregation of the children of Israel was to once and for all drive out the inhabitants of the land and thoroughly purge the land of its wickedness, its idolatry, its immorality, and so much more. As you read the words which are found within the final verses of the thirty-third chapter you will find the congregation of the children of Israel being given a very specific command concerning the land into which they were going to enter. We must recognize and understand that it was about so much more than the congregation of the children of Israel merely entering into the land and immediately beginning to enjoy the fruit of the land, and beginning to settle and dwell in the midst of it. The more you read and the more you study the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more you will encounter the absolutely tremendous reality that the congregation of the children of Israel needed to prepare the soil of the land of Canaan before they could bring forth the harvest the living God had intended and purposed.

Upon reading the words found in the final verses of the thirty-third chapter you will find that the congregation of the children of Israel were given the tremendous and incredible command to drive out the inhabitants of the land, to destroy all their idolatry and idolatrous practices, to dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and to divide the land between and among the twelve tribes. These words cannot be overlooked, for to overlook them would be to greatly miss the point of that which the living God wanted to do in the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel—and even what the living God wanted the congregation of the children of Israel to do themselves. It was true the living God would part the waters of the Jordan River and thus allow the congregation of the children of Israel to cross over and enter into the land of Canaan, however, there was a fundamental difference that existed between the parting of the waters of the Red Sea and the parting of the waters of the Jordan River. If you read the narrative and account of the congregation of the children of Israel at the Red Sea you will find that the Egyptian army was behind them attempting to pursue and overtake them in the midst of f the wilderness that they might bring them back into the land of Egypt and back into their slavery, bondage and oppression. When it comes to the Jordan River, however, you will find that no longer was the enemy behind them seeking to overtake them, but the enemy was now before and in front of them in the midst of the land—in the midst of the land that was promised unto them by the Lord their God. What’s more, is that not only were their enemies before the congregation of the children of Israel which needed to be driven out and dispossessed, but there were also enemies behind them which stood defeated and destroyed by the congregation of the children of Israel. If there is one thing I absolutely love about the narrative of the congregation of the children of Israel in the plains of Moab, as well as once they stood before the Jordan River, it’s that before them stood a vast array of enemies which needed to be conquered and overtaken in the midst of the land, and behind them there were enemies which were already and had already been defeated by the hand and sword of the congregation of the children of Israel. Sihon king of Heshbon, Og king of Bashan, Arad the king of Canaan, and even the Midianite kings had all been conquered and overthrown by the congregation of the children of Israel on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, and as they entered into the land of Canaan they not only entered with defeated enemies behind them, but also enemies needing to be defeated before them. Pause for a moment and think about and consider this reality—the absolutely incredible and tremendous reality that as the congregation of the children of Israel crossed over the waters of the Jordan River they would do so from a place of victory and triumph, but also from a place of unfinished business and assignment which still needed to be done.

THERE IS STILL WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE! YOU HAVE UNFINISHED BUSINESS! As the congregation of the children of Israel crossed over the Jordan River and entered into the land of Canaan they would do so from a place of victory and triumph as they not only defeated and overthrew the kings of Midian, the kings of the Amorites, but also the king of Canaan. We must recognize and notice that it would be from a place of victory and triumph the children of Israel would cross over and enter into the land of Canaan, however, the victory and triumph they experienced on the eastern edge of the Jordan River only positioned them for a greater task and a greater assignment that was found in the midst of the land of Canaan. It would have been very easy for them to live in the place of victory and triumph on the eastern side of the Jordan River and to remain and abide in that place, however, to do so would have been to live far beneath that which the living God had purposed and destined for them. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many men and women have experienced victories within their lives—regardless of whether they were small victories in their eyes, or great victories in their eyes—and instead of moving forward with that which the living God has purposed and destined for them, they choose to remain behind in the place of victory and triumph rather than moving and marching forward and stepping into that which the living God had intended for them. It might very well be said that the tribes of Gad and Reuben might very well have wanted to remain and abide in this place of victory and triumph on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, and it was for this reason they had no desire to cross over the Jordan River. I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely incredible reality that these two tribes had experienced victory and triumph on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, and they wanted to remain and abide in that place of victory and triumph, as well as rest comfort rather than crossing over and entering into the land of Canaan. It would have been very easy for the congregation of the children of Israel to choose to remain and abide on the eastern edge of the Jordan River and to remain in the place of already defeated and already conquered foes, and it would have been very easy for the congregation of the children of Israel as a whole to have the same mindset and the same attitude as the two tribes of Gad and Reuben. Pause for a moment and think about what would and what could have potentially happened had the congregation of the children of Israel as a whole had the mindset which was expressed by these two tribes, and spoke unto Moses about not crossing over the Jordan River, and instead remaining and abiding on the eastern edge of the Jordan River where battles had already been fought, and where victories had already been won.

Perhaps one of the greatest truths and one of the greatest realities concerning the land of Canaan is that while the congregation of the children of Israel had encamped in the plains of Moab opposite the city of Jericho, there was still a great work which needed to be done. Once the congregation of the children of Israel had crossed over the Jordan River and had actually entered into the land of Canaan there would still be a great task and assignment which would need to be done, as the congregation of the children of Israel would need to drive out and disposes the inhabitants of the land that they might inhabit and dwell in the land which was promised unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What we must realize and what we must recognize concerning the congregation of the children of Israel is that when they entered into the land of Canaan they would enter with a great assignment and great work which still needed to be done, for until and unless they were willing to engage themselves in the work they would not be able to enjoy the fullness of the land and all it had to offer. With that being said, we must recognize and must understand that once the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land of Canaan there was absolutely no time to waste being relieved that they were finally in the land which they had heard so much about and had spent forty years journeying and traveling towards. What we must realize and recognize and consider concerning the land of Canaan was that once the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel entered into the land they had great need to immediately get to work and not waste any time. Think about how easy it might have been for the congregation of the children of Israel to enter into the land of Canaan and perhaps take some time to rest after having spent forty years wandering and journeying through the wilderness. It would have been very easy for the congregation of the children of Israel to enter into the land of Canaan and to simply give themselves over to rest in the midst of the land, and yet I am convinced that such a rest would have been incredibly dangerous unto and for them. There is not a doubt in my mind that it would have been incredibly dangerous and incredibly tragic for the congregation of the children of Israel to enter into the land of Canaan and to give themselves to rest—specifically and particularly because there was the strong possibility that they could have simply sought to co-exist with the inhabitants of the land which were already there. Although the land of Canaan was in fact a place of rest for the congregation of the children of Israel, there is not a doubt in my mind that there was absolutely no room, nor was there any place for them to engage themselves in rest upon crossing and passing over the Jordan River and entering into the land.

I sit here this morning and I find myself considering the fact that it would have been very easy for the congregation of the children of Israel to enter into the land of Canaan and to simply give themselves over to rest in the midst of the land. Oh, perhaps they did not choose to remain on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, and obtain for themselves an inheritance on the eastern side of the Jordan River as the children of Gad and Reuben sought after and desired, but they could have very easily chosen to cross over the Jordan River and simply rest once they had passed over. Having already defeated Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan, and having already conquered and defeated the kings of Midian, the children of Israel could have chosen to simply enter into the land and not pick up the sword, and to instead abide and dwell in the land while also allowing the inhabitants of the land to remain in the land together with them. If there is one thing we must recognize concerning the congregation of the children of Israel, it’s that they could have essentially chosen two alternate paths which were different from that which the living God had ordained and appointed them. On the one hand the congregation of the children of Israel could have chosen to follow the same attitude and the same mindset which the sons of Gad and Reuben had and desired, as they did not want to cross over the Jordan River, and wanted instead to remain and abide on the eastern side of the Jordan River and settle and obtain their inheritance there. ON the other hand, the congregation of the children of Israel could have chosen to enter into the land of Canaan, and they could have chosen to settle themselves down and simply rest once they passed over the Jordan River and rest from all their warfare, rest from all their conflict, rest from all their battles, and simply settle in the land. I am convinced there is an absolutely and incredible danger in each of these mindsets, for on the one hand there was the danger of choosing not to enter into the land of Canaan and play the same dangerous game their fathers did in the previous generation. On the other hand, they could have played and equally dangerous game by choosing to enter into the land of Canaan, and yet instead of taking up the sword and driving out and dispossessing the inhabitants of the land, they could have simply chosen to co-exist with the inhabitants of the land. It’s ‘worth noting that the living God was very much aware of the temptation to simply enter into the land of Canaan and choosing to rest in the midst of the land rather than taking up the sword and driving out the inhabitants of the land. The Lord God of the Hebrews knew the temptation was very much alive and real for the congregation of the children of Israel, and that they could have chosen to enter into the land of Canaan and simply chosen to put their roots down in the midst of the land while allowing the inhabitants which were already there to remain. I am absolutely and completely convinced there is a tremendous danger in such a mindset and such an attitude, for giving themselves to such a mindset and way of thinking would have surely been detrimental to the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel.

I absolutely love the words which the living God had spoken unto the congregation of the children of Israel on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, for the living God had prepared them for the wonderful and incredible need to not only enter into the land of Canaan, but also to enter into it and to immediately begin going to work as they took possession of it by conquering and subduing the inhabitants which were in the midst of the land. It was never the desire, nor was it ever the intention of the living God that the congregation of the children of Israel abide in the midst of the land together with the inhabitants of the land which were already present in the midst of the land. It was never the divine will, nor was it every the desire and purpose of the living God for the congregation of the children of Israel to co-exist in the midst of the land with the inhabitants which were already there, for to do so would not only be to invite the temptation of intermingling with the inhabitants of the land, but also the door for idolatrous worship and immorality which was committed by those inhabitants which were already present within the land. When we think about and consider the absolutely tremendous reality of the congregation of the children of Israel in the midst of the land of Canaan, it is absolutely necessary that we encounter and come face to face with the undeniable and unmistakeable truth that upon their crossing over the Jordan River, and upon their entering into the land, they would need to immediately get to work, for there was no time to waste. In fact, I am convinced that any time wasted in the land of Canaan after entering into it, and any time spent resting in the land before going to work driving out and dispossessing the inhabitants of the land could and might very well have had disastrous effects and results on the congregation of the children of Israel. There is not a doubt in my mind that there was absolutely no room and no place for the congregation of the children of Israel to remain in a place of rest, comfort and ease in the midst of the land while choosing to co-exist with the inhabitants of the land, for to give themselves to such a reality would be to miss out on the inheritance the living God had for them. We must recognize and understand that the living God desired and purposed that the land might be an inheritance for the congregation of the children of Israel, and not that it be shared with the inhabitants which were already present in the midst of the land. The land of promise was never meant to be occupied by the children of Israel, as well as the inhabitants which had been their for decades, and perhaps even centuries. The underlying mission and assignment was quite clear for the congregation of the children of Israel, for they would need to enter into the land and immediately begin conquering and subduing it before them that they might take possession of the land, and that the land might be divided among them as an inheritance. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that it would have been incredibly difficult to divide an occupied land as an inheritance for the people of God, for the inheritance would have been shared with inhabitants who were no longer welcome in the land. The question we must ask ourselves when we think about and consider this reality is whether or not we are willing to allow ourselves to take up the sword and fulfill the task and assignment the living God has for us in this generation and in this life. We must be willing to ask ourselves whether we are willing to fulfill the task and assignment the living God has for us in this generation and in that which He has promised, prepared and designed for us in this life, or whether we will choose to rebel against His command and against his promise.

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