Joshua, that second leader of Israel, when an old and full of years called together those leaders of God’s people who soon enough will step into his shoes. They were to continue what God who accomplishes but does not age had long been doing according to his timing. When first perusing what has become verse 4 of Joshua’s words to these men I overlooked a couple of words that took on an important focus.
“Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Great Sea in the west.” – Joshua 23:4 (ESV)
The two words that hid out among the others were: “that remain.” What does he say to them with those two words? There were some nations that remain to be conquered. The land of those nations had been allotted; it had been divvied up; divvied, but not delivered. So there were more seasons in the fight that began around the tall walls of Jericho that Joshua would not lead. Among the 12 tribes were those who yet had to come into possession of their allotment.
What can be done with this for us? What is a point there that is a point for here? The Israelites do not possess all the land, but they are destined to do so. The blessings that had been delivered were not all that had been promised. Other land that had been promised was yet to be delivered. Tracking numbers? Nope. When? Not tellin’.
This is a little like buying something from Amazon.com. You make your purchase; you get your email. After a bit along comes another email: the shipping notice. In there some of us greedily look for the arrival. That arrival time is a curious thing. Sometimes the arrival is said to be between this day and that. Often we expect more specifics and look for which exact day it will arrive. Then finally that day comes and you see the “out for delivery” notice. Awesome! Here it comes! How wonderful that can be. Of course, not all are built for that level of anticipation, but some of us or some of our significant others are.
Well, coming back to that leader in Canaan some multi-thousand years ago what do we see? Well, we see an email. We see a guarantee given. The email from Amazon has come, but the when is dangling. These tribes that want the arrival of their allotment have yet to wait and wait on God and his timing.
God delivers the blessings when he knows the timing is right. We may be convinced, may be beyond convinced that the timing is right. Things that God does, though, have a way of being on his time table and not ours. God does not give the tracking number. God gives the promise. Maturity is about that being enough. Enough can be tough. The source must be trusted for both the blessing and the timing.
“I go to prepare a place for you,” Jesus said, “and if I go to prepare a place I will come again and take you to be with me.”1 There is the email confirmation if you will. No man knows the time or the place for that is stored up in the mystery and providence of God the Father, but arrival of the inheritance is as sure as the sunrise.