“But the children of Joseph said, ‘The mountain country is not enough for us; and all the Canaanites who dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both those who are of Beth Shean and its towns and those who are of the Valley of Jezreel’" (Joshua 17:16).
Do you struggle with procrastination? Many of us battle this as we put off for tomorrow what we should get done today. Are there consequences for procrastinating in doing what God expects of us? What can happen when we fail to follow God’s Will for our lives in a timely manner?
Following the conquering of the majority of the Promised Land, Joshua begins dividing up the inheritances among the tribes of Israel. It was up to each tribe, through God’s help, to finish driving out the remaining Canaanites from within their inherited territory. After receiving his inheritance, Caleb did exactly this. He drove out the remaining Anakim (i.e. giants) from within his inheritance (Joshua 15:13-17). Caleb is a great example of perseverance and of not procrastinating!
However, many of the tribes did not follow through with keeping God’s command to drive out the remaining Canaanites from within their inherited territory. For example, Ephraim failed to drive the Canaanites out of Gezer (Joshua 16:10). Judah failed to drive out the Jebusites which dwelt in Jerusalem (Joshua 15:63). Judah also failed to drive the Philistines out of the cities of Ekron, Ashdod, and Gaza which was within their inherited territory (Joshua 15:45-47). As a result, these peoples became a thorn in Israel’s side by tempting them with the worship of their idols. In fact, after a couple of generations, the Philistines would be one of the people’s that God would allow to oppress Israel because of Israel’s rebellion against God (Judges 13:1). Later, Goliath and the Philistines would pose a great threat to King Saul and Israel (1 Samuel 17:1-11).
All of this happened because of Israel’s procrastination or failure to follow through in keeping God’s command to drive the Canaanites out of the land they were inheriting. As the opening verse above indicates, God’s people, such as the children of Joseph, began doubting God’s power and feared the power of the Canaanites. Joshua encouraged them to trust in God’s power to drive out the remaining Canaanites: “And Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph--to Ephraim and Manasseh--saying, ‘You are a great people and have great power; you shall not have only one lot, but the mountain country shall be yours. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong’ " (Joshua 17:17-18), However, the children of Joseph failed to drive out them out (Joshua 17:11-12).
As Christians, we have need of perseverance to follow through in keeping God’s commands. Many times we start of well and then get distracted by the temptations the world offers or, like ancient Israel, begin doubting God’s power and fearing the power of others. Like God’s people of Joshua’s day, the failure to persevere results in our becoming entangled with the world and growing distant from God. Today, I will strive to follow the example of Caleb and other faithful servants of God who persevered in keeping God’s Word. I will not procrastinate when it comes to following God’s Will!
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with ENDURANCE the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him ENDURED the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).