By Evan Pyle


I was always under the impression that, under Joshua, Israel took all, or almost all, of the land promised by God. In fact, Joshua 11:23 seems to say just this. “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.”

Yet, Joshua 13:1 found the aged and failing Joshua receiving a message from God by utterance that very much land remained yet to be possessed. “Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the Lord said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.” The chapter goes on to list areas and territories which Israel had yet to conquer. Yes, Israel had made great conquests, and had rest from their enemies around them. Yet God had more in store for them, and he would have cleared the way for them had they merely entered these unconquered territories by faith. God had swept their enemies before them every time. Apparently, though, Israel had collectively reached a place of “good enough.” God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis shows that Israel never occupied more than perhaps a fourth of the geographical area God described to Abraham.

Have you, like me, asked yourself how many times you have stopped short of occupying territory God would have you to occupy and subdue for his kingdom? Honestly, I think of this truth primarily in terms of areas of my life that God is calling me to subdue and place under his lordship. We have limited God by being satisfied with less than our full inheritance. We see the victories and are satisfied. We think that it is “good enough” when the Lord has predestined a calling for us that goes beyond the present accomplishments.

As a consequence of stopping short, two things have happened in our lives. First, we fail to labor in fields God meant for us and, second, we fail to drive the “inhabitants” (those besetting sins) out of the territory we do occupy. These “inhabitants” that have been allowed to remain plague us as they did the Israelites, in seeking to turn them from following God.

Joshua 23:12-13:
Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:
13 Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.

Jeremiah 15:13:
Thy substance and thy treasures will I give to the spoil without price, and that for all thy sins, even in all thy borders.

Speaking from personal experience, I fear we grow tired of the struggle and regrettably settle for good enough. But “good enough” never is, is it? Our place of rest as Christians is not in ceasing from the struggle, but in entering and occupying new territory for the Lord.

Hebrews 4:11:
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

There are lasting riches and great blessing for the faithful soldiers who fulfill their calling without falling short, who like Paul can say, “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Psalm 147:14:
He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

Isaiah 54:12:
And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.



From the August 2002 issue of The Vine & Branches