Not Immediately

Journal Entry // June 5, 2022

Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.

Joshua 11:18 ESV

Quick answers. Immediate success. Fast results. These are the expectations of the modern world. We have all come to believe that technology can solve any problem and make our lives better by enhancing these three actions. We let this seep into every area of our lives and we have these expectations even when they are unrealistic and unhelpful. We even let these thoughts overtake our spiritual lives. We don’t want to study the Bible and work through it’s teachings. We want an interesting podcast or short article that can give us an executive summary of how to be a “gospel” whatever. We have let this mentality so invade and dominate our thinking that we don’t realize how shortsighted we have truly become.

The Bible is filled with stories of people who were not provided with quick answers or immediate success or fast results. Quite the contrary. The Bible is filled with stories of people who had to walk the long and strenuous path of faithfulness through many trials and adversities. There are so many examples of this, that it might be easier to just name the people of the Bible who did actually receive quick answers. Even with this knowledge and understanding, I still find it difficult to work through the trial or adversity or even just the day-to-day mundane. My heart longs to move out of this negative experience and into the final place of rest and peace. I am quick to forget that the struggle I am experiencing is part of the lesson and training from the Lord.

The Israelites had received the promise that the Lord would give them the promised land and that they would go into the land and defeat all of their enemies. That there would be a great and tremendous victory. In my mind, I read this and I can move from chapter 1 to chapter 11 fairly quickly and see the conquering of the land as fairly simple and fast. But this is far from the truth. Nothing about conquering all of the land was simple or easy. It took work and effort and commitment and faithfulness and obedience and suffering. It took time and effort. It took patience and persistence. It was all of this, but it was not simply handed to them. This small verse says it all… “Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.”

It took a long time for the Israelites to defeat this army that was formed against them. And this army was just one of the many they had to defeat. This one army required a long time of war to be defeated. This is important for my life. It is important to keep a long view perspective on my life. The battle with sin in my heart will not be quick, fast, and immediate. I will need to make war a long time with my stubborn heart. These trials of adversity that I am in are here for my good. They are here to train me and develop me and transform me into a man that displays Jesus to a watching world. This takes time. This takes steadfastness.

So I need the faithful steadfast obedience of Joshua. I need to hear from my Father those same words of encouragement, “Be strong and courageous.” The Lord said this multiple times to Joshua throughout this book. Joshua needed to hear these words. He needed to be reminded that the Lord had indeed ordained victory, but that Joshua was called to go forth and fight the battles. He needed to be strong and courageous to not lose heart. To not lose his motivation. To not lose his understanding of who he was in Christ. I need this each and every day. I need to be reminded that Jesus has already conquered death. That sin holds no sway over me. I am no longer a slave to sin, but a slave to righteousness. It’s beautiful isn’t it. So the battle being persistent is not a negative. This is a blessing from the Lord to grow me. To allow me the opportunity to strengthen my faith as I exercise it daily. To build up my spiritual muscles of faith and obedience as I grow each and every day in my love for Jesus!

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