Abram was given a vision of what he and his seed could possess.
And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. (Genesis 13:14-17)
There remains a possessing (i.e., “inheriting”) of what we have been given.
And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. (Genesis 15:7)
When the time came for the children of Israel to possess their inheritance, all but Joshua and Caleb, balked at the idea.
And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. (Num. 13:30)
There is a “seeing” in theory, and a seeing in actuality.
God swore that all the first generation would not actually see the land; they would die in the wilderness.
Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it. (Numbers 14:23,24)
God gives us a “window of opportunity” to possess our possession.
There is deep regret and mourning over the failure to do so (i.e. “missed chances.”)
And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.
And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.
Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. (Numbers 14:39-42)
The initial promise and possibility of any part of our calling can be unrealized through disobedience.
For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. (Joshua 5:6)
Obedience is the one key to possessing what God has given us.
Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:
Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD. (Numbers 32:11)
God signaled to the second generation when it was time for them to “begin to possess” their inheritance.
Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them. (Deuteronomy 1:8)
And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land. (Deuteronomy 2:31)
Though he had to wait forty years, Caleb was ready to possess his inheritance in God’s timing.
As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day … (Joshua 14:11,12)
God told the second generation to not be gripped by the same fear as their fathers were.
And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;
For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. (Deuteronomy 20:3,4)
God doesn’t despise our natural desire for satisfaction. He knows how much we want to enjoy the labor of our hands and what is ours.
And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.
And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it. And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her. (Deuteronomy 20:5-7)
It is one thing to have gotten something, it is another thing to get to enjoy it in all its fullness. The curse of the law included the torment and madness that comes with the bitterest disappointment (i.e., losing what was ours to another.)
Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.
Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them.
Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand.
The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway: So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. (Deuteronomy 28:30-34)
It grieves us deeply to not be able to enjoy what should be ours to enjoy.
There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:
A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease. (Ecclesiastes 6:1,2)
God tries our hearts through painful disappointments. He would have us discover how much of our happiness is wrapped up in our possession of things in this world, and how much of our life revolves around knowing Him.
And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:13-21)
We are at a crossroads when things don’t pan out as we expected, or hoped they would have.
Will we make a godly pivot to what else God has in store, or will we go on mourning over what “could have been?”
And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. (1 Samuel 16:1)
When Paul reached his end, he said he had “finished his course.” But it is possible he did not accomplish all his ministry objectives.
But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;
Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. (Romans 15:23,24)
When things of this life fell short for him, Paul had learned to make a “godly pivot” and gain his greater objective of knowing Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ (Philippians 3:,8)
God’s ultimate goal is not in what we accomplish for Him, or in the realization of our dreams. Christ IS the “promised land.”
To know Him is to be filled with all the “fullness of God.” Fully possessing Him is where true success and satisfaction is found.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (Hebrews 3:14,15)