This article was first published on our church website.
15 “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.”
16 The people of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel.”
17 But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18 but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out.”
What does it look and feel like to be people on a mission? Some people have an idealistic view that it will be easy to advance and experience almost revival-like conditions wherever they go. I think this story from Joshua 17 paints a much clearer and realistic picture of what it looks like to be people caught up in God’s great mission. Here we read how expansion is coupled with clearing forested high ground (that sounds like hard work!) and pushing back a ‘dug in’ opposing army (man, that sounds seriously tough!). Clearing highlands and fighting well-equipped armies, (that sounds really challenging). Yes, it does and that’s a great picture of what mission looks like today! Mission, and what I mean by that, is being caught up in God’s great mission to see men and women from every nook and cranny of planet earth saved and added into his great family, requires a huge amount of perseverance and grit!
The Apostle Paul, understood this need when he wrote to the church in Galatia:
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:9)
Friends, if we’re going to see the kingdom of God coming and the darkness pushed back and many hundreds of people added into the family of God, it’s going to require you and me to give ourselves ‘heart and soul’ and with ultra-runner-like perseverance, over many years . Then we will advance!
Today I pray for a fresh empowering of your Holy Spirit so i might persevere for you and see real and lasting change here in Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and the surrounding villages!