Bit by bit we conquer the old and come alive to the new. Day by day we take more and more of the vast possession that is ours in Christ. And always and ever we look with expectation to the day the battles will finally be over, the land will finally be fully conquered, and we shall reign forever with Him.
The Israelites had sojourned in the wilderness until the last of an entire rebellious generation had died and been buried. They had walked to the banks of the Jordan and had seen its waters before them. They had crossed the river and entered the Promised Land. And now the true work and the true challenge would begin.
Though God had promised that this people would inherit this land, and though he had promised that it would be their possession, he did not intend to deliver it to them in its completed form. He did not intend to give them a land whose every field was forever cleared and tilled, whose every crop was forever ripe for harvest, whose every barn was forever full. Rather, he intended to give them a land whose climate was right, who soil was rich, whose nutrients were plentiful, and whose waters were pure. He intended to give them a land that would respond appropriately and provide bountifully to their hard labor.
And so as the people took possession of the land, as they displaced its inhabitants, they set to work. They claimed the fields that had already been broken and planted, but they also claimed new fields and prepared them for sowing and watering and reaping.