The truly successful man recognizes the importance of passing on the vision of what God wants done. Notice how this chapter begins. “Now Joshua was old and advanced in years when the LORD said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land remains to be possessed” (Joshua 13:1). Joshua was leaving the earth. When we are told that God intervened in Joshua’s life, he was already old. He had already lived many years.
The fact that Joshua was old and did not finish the job of taking the Promised Land in his lifetimes was rather obvious. Any thinker will quickly figure out that every older person will die sooner or later. Life insurance companies have made a bundle on this very fact. God did not stop talking there, though. He continued on and told him what still needed to be done. “Very much of the land remains to be possessed.”
God was still speaking to Joshua. He not only wanted to help him be a great leader but also to help the Israelites. We know that our wisdom is far short of what it should be. We often rely on research rather than on God. We should be glad when God comes into our lives and speaks to us. His viewpoint easily penetrates the overpowering view of what is generally accepted–the norm. Joshua was a great leader not only because he heard God’s voices but because he did what the Lord wanted. Joshua needed help in balancing out his ministry so that it would persist.
Solomon, I believe, failed here. The subject as to who would succeed his throne and what needed to be done after his death was avoided. He labored much to build up the kingdom but thought little or none about where it would go. Perhaps he was not excited with the fact that there were none he really could see who would properly rule. So he altogether avoided the issue. This problem was exasperated by his sin of having many wives and of course many sons. As a result, two of his sons fought each other and the kingdom was divided.
What did God mean by ‘very much of the land remains to be possessed?’ He will specify exactly what territories still needed to be conquered in the next verses, but we need to recognize the importance of completing God’s work. All His work must be done.
We cannot be content with getting half of God’s work done. I get a kick out of how everyone hangs onto the latest business leadership fads. One of the common subjects is to have a vision and to attach goals to achieve that vision. People talk as if it was something new, but this very thing was some thing the Lord was training into Joshua. a good leader must not only obtain the vision, retain it but also pass it on to others.
God was the original vision giver. Every vision that is made will later on be compared to that one. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. God had implanted a vision in the hearts of others from way back. He gave Adam a vision of what needed to be done. He gave Abraham a vision that pointed to what needed to be done. Jesus was mission-focused. “And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. (John 19:30). What was finished? God’s work for Him on earth was finished.
A vision is that simple and readily understandable view of what needs to be done. Perhaps this is so important because man tends to get easily distracted. If a man started to build his house without a clear vision, it would look like three houses. If he did not maintain his vision, it would end up being half built. Only the man who persisted in seeing what God wanted, would see its vast importance of making sure it was completed.
If it is a task that goes beyond any one individual and generation, then a great leader would set himself at preparing and inspiring the next generation so that it would be done. I am grateful to organizations that persist in passing on their vision. Of course, some denominations and seminaries, though having much real estate and influence had started well, have veered off. One Christian college wisely decided to avoid this problem by having a self-perpetuating board. The board would choose who would succeed them.
We should think of this vision as God's great purpose for us on earth. "May God's will be done on earth even as it is done in heaven." The truly successful man knows God's vision and passes it on.
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