Are We There Yet?
Parents of this generation know very little about hearing those words, “are we there yet,” come out of the mouth of their little travelers. Since the arrival of DVD Players, IPhone, IPad and the like, now it seems we more often hear, “oh wow where are we anyway?” But there was an entire generation forced to ride in silence as they listened to whatever the parents chose for them to listen to, they did not even get to pick the station! At least I didn’t, I’m not bitter about it at all haha. As I reflect on those long rides from home to wherever we were going, I wonder why it seemed like it took so long. It seemed sometimes like every curve in the road was followed by another turn or another curve without end. I imagine, that as we witness the end of the book of Joshua, many in Israel felt the same way about their travels.
Israel had come a long way, imagine being on a road trip that took so long that took over 40 years to make. Now that’s a long trip! Well over 40 years ago they had left Egypt on their way to their new home, and now finally they are getting ready to here those words we all love to hear come out of our phones, “you have arrived.” Before they can even really get unpacked though, Joshua has some last words that tell them to watch out and not get too comfy just yet. Joshua 23:4 records God’s assurance to the people about their boundaries for their inheritances. The land is theirs, but there’s work yet to be done. Joshua 23:5 continues this thought, “The Lord your God will push them back before you,” which lets them know that this will not happen over night. God had tried to prepare them for this fact, in Exodus 23:29-30, where He told them that He would push out the people living in the land gradually as they got strong enough to take care of the land, this was to prevent the land from getting overgrown without caretakers.
They were not quite there yet but, God was going to fulfil His promise. Here Joshua reminds them of this to give them the confidence they needed to go out continue taking the land and being true to the Lord God who had saved them.
Joshua 23:6-7 is Joshua telling them one more time how they can take the land, through obedience to the Lord. Here Joshua warns them to stay faithful to God’s commands not going to the right or the left. Also he again tells them to worship God alone and not the gods of the people who were living in the land when they got there, they had been isolated most of their lives and now they were entering place with a whole new set of beliefs and cultures. That meant brand new temptations to idolatry. They are to stay on the straight and narrow until they have hold of all that God had promised to give them. God does not want them to forget that they cannot follow Him to their inheritance and the gods of this world at the same time.
This is very similar to how Paul described his walk with Christ.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” (Philippians 3:12–16, ESV).
Paul tells us here that the reason he was able to stay so faithful to the Lord is his anticipation of arriving in Heaven. God’s grace that had been shown to him and the promise of eternal life kept things in perspective for him in all of life. That’s not to say he was perfect or did no still have temptations. He reminds himself and us in verse 12 that his journey is not over, he is not there yet. Paul kept his attention on where he was going so that he didn’t get distracted on his journey. So long as there was breath in him he knew there was work to be done and he didn’t have to ask, “Are we there yet?” There would be zero doubt on the day he entered glory.
The same is true for us, let’s keep pressing forward on this Monday morning toward the Home in Heaven Jesus has prepared for us, do not let this world take your focus to the left or the right, you stay on the straight and narrow knowing all the time that He has a hold on you.