THE LORD HAS BEGUN – NOW WE MUST BEGIN
Date: November 22
Category: Hard Work and Diligence
Deuteronomy 1:20b, 21
"The hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God gives us. Behold, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has said to you. Fear not, neither be dismayed."
In this passage, we can see two sides of the same coin. There is the side of God and the side of men. In verse 20b we read, "The hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God gives us." In other words, God has given the land to the Israelites. Then in verse 21a we read, "Behold, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it." It's interesting to notice that even though God gave them the land, He also gave them the instruction to go and possess it. It's true that God gave them the land, but this type of promise, like any other promise of God, required their involvement to obtain. So the fact that God had given the Israelites the land meant that their conquest was going to be successful. God had already guaranteed their victory, but He required them to do their part by going out and fighting for it.
In Deuteronomy 2:24 we read, "Rise up, take your journey, and pass over the Valley of the Arnon. Behold, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land; begin to possess it and contend with him in battle." God commanded them to rise up, go pass the valley into the land, and possess it. He has already given the king of that land into their hands. All they had to do was contend with the king in battle.
Then in Deuteronomy 2:31b we read, "Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to take possession, that you may succeed him and occupy his land." So God began His part. Now the Israelites had to begin their part before they could achieve success. They already had the assurance that God was going to be with them. That's why it says in Deuteronomy 1:21b, "Fear not, neither be dismayed." There was no need for the Israelites to be afraid as they went into battle because they knew that God had already guaranteed their victory. Finally we read in Deuteronomy 3:8, "So we took the land at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon."
Notice in this story that the Israelites only experienced success the moment they moved into action. God had already given them the land, but they had to go and conquer it. It's the same with us today. God has already given us success, but we have to go and attain it. God never hands anything to us on a silver platter without first requiring something from us. God gave us forgiveness for our sins, but we had to give Him our heart. God gave us healing for our bodies, but we had to give up our unhealthy lifestyles. So if you want a happy marriage, then you have to do what it takes to bless your spouse. If you want your children to succeed, then you have to pray for them, teach them, and guide them. If you want your business to prosper, then you have to work at it. All the success in life that you desire to have will come to you as a result of your effort.
In Deuteronomy 8:18a we read, "But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth." Some people misinterpret this verse and think that God is the One who gives us the wealth. But that's not true. We are the ones who create wealth in our own lives by our hard work and diligence through the power that God gives us. Wealth doesn't happen in our lives by itself. It requires work and prudent investment strategies that we are going to get as we research the Word of God.
So God will certainly bless you to succeed, but He will not succeed for you. You have to succeed for yourself. If you want to be successful in life, whether in your marriage, your children, your business, your finances, etc, then you have to do what it takes to be successful. Remember what it says in Deuteronomy 2:31b, "Behold, I have begun to give… to you. Begin to take possession, that you may succeed…" So God has already begun to give us everything that we have asked Him for, but now we have to begin to take possession of what we've asked for. It is our step of action that will bring us to the success that God has already guaranteed us.