Every army general sits down before invading a nation and plans how to occupy the land after its capture.
When the German army swept into the nations of Europe, the heavy boots of the army were soon heard in every town Hall, every police station, government office and institution. Their target was to change the government and so possess the land. Everyone became a servant of the occupying force. No longer was it the French government or the Polish government; now the people were under the control of German law, the Third Reich and Hitler's army. The first action of invaders is to replace law and all government officials, then from that position of power, they control the people.
Jesus came to bring in a new Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. He was the embodiment of that Kingdom which can be simply summed up as the place of God's rule and His government. Jesus told us to pray for God's kingdom to come and God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. What a concept! His Kingdom is no dominating, fear-ridden government, it is righteousness, peace and joy! His kingdom brings the very atmosphere of Heaven to earth; but there is a challenge; Kingdom life must be shown to the world through ordinary believers like you and me. Our testimony is effective only as it is authentic.
Our task is presenting God's kingdom life to every person so that the whole earth is filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea! Heaven occupying earth! It is done one person at a time. The challenge is to each of us; we must be so conformed to His image that we are true manifestations of the living Jesus. When Jesus is lifted up in our everyday lives He has an irresistible ability to draw people to Himself.
The story of Joshua's invasion and possession of the Promised land is a picture for us today. As Joshua was contemplating how to take the land he was met by a Man with His sword drawn in His hand. Joshua went to him and said, "Are you for us or for our adversaries?" He said, "No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord ." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?" The captain of the Lord's host said to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so. (Josh 5:13-15 NASU)
Joshua understood possessing the land would be a fight, but the Lord and His armies would lead the way.
In Joshua chapter 1 and verses 1-9 we have sound advice for all who would take up the challenge to follow in Joshua's footsteps. Occupation requires boots on the ground! Joshua had the promise "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses." (Joshua 1:3 ESV) Jesus said, "I have given you the Kingdom" We have the promise! The call sounds out to us all, "Get out of the church walls, be light, be heaven's change agent and bring heaven's kingdom- government and rule to your home and every place you touch. For Joshua, every step of conquest was a step of faith and incredible courage empowered by the Word of God.
Joshua was commanded to ....be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land... "Only be strong and very courageous; … This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Josh 1:6-8 NASU)
To occupy or to possess means, driving out previous tenants, possessing in their place, to cast out, to drive out and to succeed. This is our task today.“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt 11:12)
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For weare not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:10-12 NLT)
Unless we are unseating the ruling powers and driving them out we shall never be able to establish the rightful rule of God's Kingdom. It is not enough to win a battle or two, the powers of darkness have to be driven out and the land must be occupied.
Unlike any other Kingdom, God's Kingdom is not established by natural law or by force. People are won by the 'authentic deal'- it is such an attractive alternative to the world, the flesh and the devil!
When the ruling powers of darkness are cast down, the kingdom of light will shine. Rise up church, a harvest of souls is waiting, let's cast down the strongholds and let the captives go free! The Joshua principles still apply for winning the war, the wisdom given for sustaining the onward march to possess the land still holds good for today.
'Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you… No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. ..... (Josh 1:3 & 5NLT)