At the beginning of this book, Moses reminds the Israelites of God’s care for them, challenges them to follow His laws, and encourages them to dedicate their lives to serving Him. It’s his farewell address as they wait on the bank of the Jordan River to cross into Canaan, their promised land. This is the second time around for Moses, Joshua and Caleb, but the first time for this generation, since their forefathers had refused to listen to God and had to return to the desert.
Moses tells them that this is what their parents heard, “See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your fathers, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (dismayed).” Moses wanted them to know how easy it would have been for them. The Lord was giving the land to them. All they had to do was go up and possess it. Claim it. Start taking care of it. Dwell there. And to do it without fear or discouragement.
I wonder how many times I’ve ignored God’s promises to me and refused to claim what He offered because I was afraid, worried, or just plain discouraged. What does He want to give me that I am fearful to accept? It’s easy to point fingers at those disobedient and contrary Israelites, but I’m no different. It’s rather comfortable here in this land where everything is predictable and (supposedly) safe. Reflecting on these verses has given me a humble awareness that maybe I should think about where I currently am and pay attention to where God wants me to be. What “land” has He given me that perhaps I am afraid to claim? Lord, help me to stop accepting desert life and instead, “go up and possess” what you’ve given.