Joshua 14-18 specific verses are found in 13:13; 15:63; 16:10 and 17:13. In these verses we find that the tribes of Israel did not fully obey the LORD in driving out the Canaanite tribes from the Promise Land. The Promise Land inheritance began in Genesis 12, 15, 17 and 22:16-18 as the promise to Abraham. This promise was repeated to Isaac and Jacob, the Patriarchs of the nation of Israel. It has been hundreds of years since the Promise was given to Abraham. But the promises of God are sure. God is not slack concerning His promises as some count slackness, but will bring about that which He has promised. This inheritance was brought about because of the faithfulness and love of God for His “peculiar” people. Abraham, Isaac nor Jacob got to enjoy the Promised land. Each one lived temporarily in the land, but the Land was inhabited. Moses saw the Land, but it was Joshua that brought the people into the Promised Land – a land that was described as “flowing with milk and honey.” The Promise of God included that “wherever the sole of your foot will touch, that I have already given to you.” Israel needed only to take possession of that which had been Promised. I believe there are many believers and churches that are afraid to move forward on the Promises of God. Fear is a paralyzer!
The Nation of Israel that entered into the Promised land had for years tasted of the goodness of God through daily provisions. Their clothes nor shoes wore out for 40years! The people had the presence of God daily and evening in the Cloud of Smoke and the Pillar of Fire. We today have the very presence of Christ indwelling in us, the Holy Spirit inhabits our flesh. We should be able to go forward with confidence and boldness in the power of God! Yet we all will hesitate or only parasitically accomplish what we know God wants us to do. In the verses I listed above we read that tribe after tribe failed to drive out the Canaanite people fully. They spared them and conscripted them to labor. This is not the command from God. Destroy the people, their, children, their flocks and all that they possess. Pretty clear, we may not like it but this was the command of God. God prepared the Canaanite people with fear through the powerful acts displayed along the way. The early victories were affirmation that God was with them. In times of disobedience to God tactics, Israel suffered. We experience the same today in our churches. God has not asked us to think of how we should do His work; He has clearly outlined what our mission and task is for us. Israel wound up becoming enslaved all over again by the very people they were to dispose of; they became the captive not just physically, but spiritually. The nation of Israel always had gods of their past with them. See Joshua 24:14–16. I believe that Israel got comfortable with partial obedience and possession of the Promised Land. I also believe that churches get comfortable when they have a building, money in the bank and members in the seats. The vision wanes and apathy sets in to the people of God. Instead of evangelizing the lost, we accept members with just a cursory filling out of a decision card. I know that there are lost in the church today as members and serving on leadership teams. Churches have become a place where attendance records rewarded. All a person has to do today to be put in leadership positions is show up for church services. Please do not think I am saying leadership is that way in all cases. There are many many churches that get things done correctly.
Back to Israel, they actually embraced the enemies. They gave their sons and daughters to be married with the Canaanite people. They adopted their customs and cultic worship. There became a mixed multitude of people in the Promise Land. Darkness has more affects on the Light that the reverse. We cannot compromise with our convictions. Obedience to ALL of God’s commands is not optional.
Why is the Church in the state of decline today? Evangelism is nearly none existent – the world has taken our culture captive. Christianity has already lost the cultural battle; churches now listen more to what it takes to get people to come to church, then going and bringing people to Jesus.
In chapter 18 we read of how seven tribes did not even take possession of their inheritance. Joshua asks the question “How long will you put off entering to take possession of the Land that the LORD God of your fathers, has given you?” Can you imagine being given an inheritance and not taking possession of it? This isn’t some lottery winner afraid of coming forward, these are the people of God that have waited for years to be in the Land. How Long Will you Wait? We could be asked the same thing today – Church how long will you wait before you “occupy” the community that God has given you? Will we continue to be disobedient to the commands of God? Or will be get after the vision and mission that our God and Savior has called us to do? The world is waiting, why are we?