A couple of posts ago I wrote about the act of Forceful Possession. The idea that God is calling us to violently take what He has placed in front of us. Well I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Not only did God tell me to forcefully possess what He has put in front of me but that I am also to STAND UP. To STAND UP and POSSESS what He puts in front of me.
The other day on my way to work I started to think about the Israelites. The Lord had given the Promise Land as a POSSESSION to them, all they had to do was go in and take the land. The first time they cowered away from the Promise because it LOOKED as though they couldn’t take it. Instead of sizing their problem up against the power that the Lord has already demonstrated they measured it against themselves. And they were right. They alone could not take on those in their land but God wasn’t asking them to take on the giants alone, He was asking them to step forward and allow Him to work. Because of their broken vision they spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness and those who did not believe died in the wilderness. This makes me think of a quote by J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.” This is true. The Israelites were not lost, they knew exactly where they were and so did God, but they wandered due to their unbelief.
Well after 40 years of wandering they finally moved in to take possession of the promise land. For some this part of the story is hard because God tells the Israelites that to possess the land they must drive out everyone who was there before, they were to leave no man, woman or child alive in their land. This is hard to digest isn’t it? It’s hard because how can my God, the God who sent His son to die for me say to kill all those in the land? And this is what I found myself thinking upon the other day in the car. And it hit me. God wasn’t telling the Israelites to force them out because He hated them, He was telling the Israelites to force them out because He knew His people. Deuteronomy 7:1-4 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations… and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to service other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you…” (NIV) God knew that if the Israelites allowed those already in the land, who did not follow their practices, to stay that their hearts would wander. We can know this because the Lord didn’t tell the people that they were never to be in contact with these people and never to allow them in… no we see throughout God’s law that He talks about any stranger that lives among you but He makes it clear that Israelites and stranger alike are to live by His law. The Lord was trying to save His people and He was showing that if they were going to take the land for Him then they had to take the land and claim it as His. They had to wipe clean the dirt that had been on the possession and label it as His. God was telling the Israelites to put away the temptation that was in the land so that they could stand firm in His promise. Then and only then would they fully be in POSSESSION of what He had promised them. The truth through is that I don’t believe that the Israelites were ever in true Possession of His promise. They never fully drove out what was there before to claim it as His, and so instead of others coming into His promise with them, others took them out of the promise.
Matthew 11:12 as I wrote about in Forceful Possession says “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.” The Israelites and their relationship with God is a parallel to us and the Kingdom of God. Just as the Israelites were told to go forth, rid the land of those who had been in it before, take possession and then welcome the stranger to live in that promise we too are called to do this. God is asking us to move forward in the Promise that He has given, the Promise of Jesus and His Holy Spirit. We are called to violently and forcefully take hold of the Kingdom and the victory that has already been won. We are to take down the Spiritual Strongholds, the areas where the enemy has taken up residency. We are not called to skirt around what the enemy has done and allow him to remain in our LAND but instead we are called to FULLY cleanse the land; to remove from it any hindrance of the Kingdom be it man, woman or child. God isn’t calling us to this because the Lord wants them to be removed but instead, because the Lord knows our weaknesses. We must remove them so that the others may be admitted into His promise. Does this make sense? Do you see what we haven’t been doing? We must STAND UP. Be BOLD. Be STRONG and COURAGEOUS in what the Lord has asked of us, we must not shy away from the hard topics or stand for sin staying in our camp but instead the Lord calls us to REMOVE so that we may ADMIT.
I’m not sure what this means for my own life. I don’t know what God is asking for me to do. I know that it means that I must be STRONG, that I must STAND UP, that I cannot sway in knowing my PURPOSE. I believe that God is equipping His people that we may STAKE a claim to what He has already won, what He has PROMISED His people. God doesn’t want us to only possess some of the promise, He wants us to have FULL POSSESSION of the promise. The Kingdom of God is already here, we must only TAKE HOLD of what He has GIVEN to us.
Deuteronomy 7:1-4 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations… and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to service other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you…” (NIV)
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave nor forsake you.” (NIV)
Joshua 23:9-13 “For the Lord has driven out from before you great and strong nations; but as for you, no one has been able to stand against you to this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you. Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God. Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations – these that remain among you – and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.” (NKJV)
Matthew 11:12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.” (NKJV)