“So Joshua said to the people of Israel, “How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” Joshua 18:3
If you’ve ever bought a new car, at what point is the car yours? Is it when you sign your name on the dotted line? Is it sixty months later, when you’ve made the last payment? You could make a case for either of those. But most people would say that at that magical moment when the dealer hands you the keys, shakes your hand, and congratulates you on the purchase, you feel like the car is yours. Or if not then, certainly the point at which you get behind the wheel, start it up, and drive away. You hear that giddy voice in your head, This is mine.
Imagine signing all the papers and making all the payments, but never driving the car away from the lot. You would own the car, but you wouldn’t have the car. The car is yours, but you haven’t taken possession of it. And there’s a difference.
In Joshua 18, we find that there are still seven tribes that have not received their inheritance, even though, according to verse 1, “the land lay subdued before them.” Apparently, they had gotten comfortable living as nomads in the lands of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Judah. Sort of like a thirty-something who still lives in his parents’ basement.
So God rebukes the people through Joshua: I’ve given you this land. How long before you step into it? How long before you take possession?
There are a lot of things in my spiritual life that have been promised to me, but I don’t fully live into them. Romans 8:15 tells me that I’ve received the spirit of adoption as a son by which I can call out, “Abba! Father!” I have received the right to call the creator of the universe “Daddy” (that’s basically what ‘Abba’ means in Aramaic). But have I taken possession of this right? Or am I still hesitant to bother God with requests that seem too trivial for Him?
Or how about this one: I have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). That means that I have access to the wisest decision maker, the most discerning counselor, the greatest philosopher that has ever been. But how often do I agonize and hand-wring and sweat over decisions I have to make? I may have it, but have I taken possession?
There are so many things we are promised as children of God! The peace of God (Philippians 4:7)! Abundant life (John 10:10)! Salvation. Power. Comfort. This article from Got Questions lists many, many more of God’s promises to His children, but even then they are only scratching the surface. Paul sums it up in his first letter to the Corinthians:
21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
Beloved, it is time for us as believers to step into the Promised Land! Take possession of the promises.