God tells Joshua and the children of Israel “it’s all yours!” Help yourself. He didn’t say it would be easy, but he said it was available if they had the faith to take it. In Joshua 1:3, God says, Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.” When you consider the dimensions of the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, their descendants never occupied it all. Actually, they occupied very little of it. I love Andy Williams’s vocal of “The Exodus” from 1962. Yes, I can remember it!  Here are some of the lyrics, “This land is mine God gave this land to me. This brave and ancient land to me. And when the morning sun Reveals her hills and plains then I see a land where children can run free. With the help of God, I know I can be strong to make this land our home. If I must fight, I’ll fight. To make this land our own. Until I die, this land is mine”

Paul tells us about the battle that every Christian is to fight. Although Satan is the Lord of this world, through Jesus, we have victory if we but take it. Paul tells us about the spiritual battle that we fight every day. It’s not against flesh and blood like the battle Israel fought. Paul says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).” Peter tells us “your adversary the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). James instructs is to submit ourselves to God, our supreme commander, “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” Jesus sent 72 disciples out to preach the good news in surrounding cities. When they came back Luke 10:17 tells us, “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’” He sends us out also.

Speaking of this spiritual battle, Origen, one of the original scholars of the Church in Alexandria around 200 AD, tells us that God has given the spiritual battle to us. He says, “We shall seize their territories, their provinces and their realms, as Jesus our Lord apportions them to us. Thus we understand the promise to us from our Lord Jesus that ‘every place we set the soles of our feet’ will be ours. But let us not imagine that we may be able to enter into this inheritance yawning and drowsy, through ease and negligence.” To Origen we must expel Satan from our lives through the power of Christ as Israel was charged with expelling the pagan nations before them. He says, “Unless you vanquish this [wrath] in yourself and cut off all violent impulses of anger and rage, you will not be able to claim as an inheritance the place that angel once had. For you will not expel him from the land of promise by your slothfulness. In like manner, some angels incite pride, jealousy, greed and lust and instigate these evil things. Unless you gain the mastery over their vices in yourself and exterminate them from your land—which now through the grace of baptism has been sanctified—you will not receive the fullness of the promised inheritance.”[1] J. Vernon McGee tells an interesting story that helps apply this passage to us. He says, “Years ago a certain Englishman moved to the United States. Soon after he arrived he dropped out of sight. One day his uncle in England died and left him about a five–million dollar estate. Scotland Yard went about trying to locate the man whose last address had been in Chicago. They searched for him but never found him. Later I heard that he was found one morning frozen to death in an entryway of a cheap hotel. He could not afford twenty–five cents for a room although he was heir to five million dollars! He did not claim what was his. He did not lay hold of what belonged to him.”[2]

[1] Franke, John R., ed. 2005. Old Testament IV: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1–2 Samuel. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[2] McGee, J. Vernon. 1991. Thru the Bible Commentary: History of Israel (Joshua/Judges). Electronic ed. Vol. 10. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.