What a melodramatic ending to a victorious conquest? Joshua 21:43-44 records the conclusion of all the nation’s struggle to possess the Promised Land.
And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.
It is vital for Christians to realize the nature of rest. Israel had rest after faithful obedience to God’s detailed instructions. In order to follow those instructions, they meditated day and night upon the Word. They had rest after a fierce struggle. They were not handed the land and all its bounty simply by crossing the Jordan River. The victorious path must be lined with…victory! A victory means you have faced the enemy. Too many Christians are soft. Like C. T. Studd described in his booklet entitled The Chocolate Soldier:
Every true Christian is a soldier—of Christ—a hero “par excellence!” Braver than the bravest—scorning the soft seductions of peace and her oft-repeated warnings against hardship, disease, danger, and death, whom he counts among his bosom friends. The otherwise Christian is a chocolate Christian! Dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. “Sweeties” they are! Bonbons, lollipops! Living their lives on a glass dish or in a cardboard box, each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution.
Paul urged his children in the faith to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). Why must there be this struggle? One reason is, we can see the Lord’s deliverance. “Persecutions, afflictions, which came…out of them all the Lord delivered me” (2 Timothy 3:11). Without great struggle, you will never know the Greater Power of the Lord. The struggle is not only necessary so you can witness the Lord’s deliverance, but also it spiritually benefits others. “Endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10). Christian, please realize the struggle and your victory has a powerful influence on the spiritual wellbeing of others especially your own posterity. Endure for other’s sake. Embolden them to follow the Lord into conquest. The final reason for the struggle is your fulness of blessing. You will never enjoy the fullness of God’s blessing unless you explore the terrain and evict the enemy. “Endure afflictions…make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). Much like Israel, you have territory to reclaim in order to fully realize God’s potential through you.
Think of some great Christian. One who spoke truth with love, taught others the way of the Lord, saw the lost repent and believe in Christ. Think of the noblest Christian soldier. You may have thought to yourself, “I could never be like them.” However, God has greater aspirations for you than being like them. His goal is for you to be like Christ, so endure like Christ. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…For consider him that endured…lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:2-3). Through God’s power and promises, you will become what He envisioned for you and you will find rest.
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).