Monday, November 1, 2010

when conviction is lost

but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.
Joshua 17:18

This portion of the book of Joshua shows Israel losing its resolve. There are times when we find it hard to obey God, and it is often really easy to result to our own strategies. In case of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, they did not seem to want to trust God in the effort to continue driving Canaanites from the land. In Joshua 16:10 they forced them into hard labor. When they complained to Joshua that they needed more land, what they meant was they needed more open land with no Canaanites in it! Joshua's answer was to encourage them to press forward into the hill country. They balked at this, insisting that the military power there was too strong (the Canaanites had iron chariots). But Joshua encouraged them to move forward with this plan.

The first thing to do when we sense conviction to obey God is waning is to re-examine our priorities. Joshua shrewdly kept Israel on mission with his encouragement that they would succeed. He knew that God was more powerful than fortified walls or chariots of iron. He would take care of them... forever.

The second step is continued obedience to God's instructions. That is ultimately what the Israelites had to do. Every accommodation that they made with the Canaanites would later come back to hurt them. So Joshua's words were really words of warning. We might not have the Book of Judges if Israel had fully heeded them!

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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