Winning the Land – Joshua 17:16

“The people of Joseph said, ‘The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-Shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.’”
Joshua 17:16

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:5-7

After all they had seen the Lord do, the many battles won against stronger and more numerous armies, the great miracles performed including the parting of the Jordan at flood stage, the people in Joshua 17 still looked through the lens of defeat and felt fear in the presence of strong enemies. Their focus was on the chariots of iron rather than on the all-surpassing might of their God and His promise that none would stand against them, that they would take the land. His promise that He would be with them.

How often do I lose focus on my God? On who He is, on His power and His promises?

How often do I get fearful and intimidated at the size of the challenge, self-perceived weakness, and seeming impossibilities?

In those moments, I forget that it isn’t about me.

All of it is about the Lord.

His purposes which He will accomplish. (Isaiah 46:9-11)

His calling on my life that He will equip me for. (Psalm 18:32-34; Hebrews 13:20-21)

His leading as my Shepherd that will be clear and perfectly timed. (Psalm 23:3; Psalm 31:3; John 10:27)

His glory, as all will see His faithfulness and His might because He accomplished it all.

Our God knows our weaknesses and He is greater than them all. His power, His sovereignty, His grace – it is all mightier than our weaknesses. Perhaps that sounds silly or obvious. But it is vital for us to realize. Because it means our weaknesses will not mess up His purposes or His plans for us. They aren’t unknown to Him. He already knows it all.

Even with our weaknesses, the Lord will accomplish His purposes. As we seek Him, He will lead us faithfully, not because we’re great listeners or we do everything right, but for His sake. For His sake, He leads and guides His people.

“His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.”
Psalm 147:10-11

It isn’t strength and strategy and impressive qualities God wants from us. What we bring to the table isn’t what wins the day and meets challenges. He desires our trust. That we will confidently hope in Him, love Him, and perceive Him in wonder and humble, reverent fear. Lived out in joyful obedience because we are in close relationship with the God of heaven, the God of hope, the mighty God who is love, who has saved us at great personal cost and brought us in as His children.

“For not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.”
Psalm 44:3

It is not my strength that wins the land. It is the Lord, because He delights in me. Because I am His, and He knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19). He will not forget me (Isaiah 44:21; Isaiah 49:15-16).

He will not forget and He will never fail, because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). And if God Himself, the Most High, the Creator of all things, is for us, who could ever be against us (Romans 8:31)? For He works all things for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). His purpose, which He will fulfill. He will complete His work (Romans 8:29; Philippians 1:6). And nothing – nothing – can separate us from the love of this almighty, all-powerful God who fights for us and wins the land, because His faithfulness toward us in Christ reaches to the sky, and it will never end (Romans 8:38-39; Psalm 36:5; Jeremiah 32:40-41).

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